April 2016

A need for better records

By Galen Larson

I would like to see the minutes of the Montezuma County commissioners’ meetings be kept in greater detail. As things exist, it is hard to research the past actions of the commissioners or the questions asked by constituents.

I realize the minutes have been written in bare-bones style over the years, regardless of who the commissioners, the county clerk, or even the county attorney were. From their point of view, it is safer to say very little – you are less likely to get in trouble. Just state what the vote was and don’t include any of the discussion.

But in my mind, the minutes are somewhat like Grandma’s receipt for her cake – when a certain pinch of salt is left out, it changes the flavor. Keeping the minutes to a minimum does not give a very complete picture of the course set by present or past commissioners as to where the county is heading.

I was in an industry where complete and detailed information was of the highest priority, all kept in triplicate or more. One for the office, one for the inspector, one for the engineer and one for myself to cover my ass.

I would think the commissioners should treat the building of a county much the same way as a large and expensive construction project, where each participant (constituent) in its construction, if they care to, should be able to find a complete chronology of its vision and the steps taken toward that. One does not have to know the finer points about the changing of a tire – that’s self-evident. But when repairs are to the motor, they should be explained.

Good leadership and management require complete notes on yesterday’s actions and a clear vision for tomorrow. When I was in the service, the bird colonel in charge of the hospital always ate with the patients and enlisted personnel. When I asked him why, he said he met with the commissioned officers, but what he really wanted to know was what the patients and enlisted personnel needed. That’s leadership.

Not everyone can take the time to go to the commission meetings, nor does everyone have the kind of high-speed Internet it takes to watch them live. All the more reason to have a thorough and detailed record of what is said.

I have seen the minutes of the Cortez City Council meetings and they are much more complete. I would like to see the county move in that direction.

Galen Larson writes from Montezuma County, Colo.