Not only is the Elbert Board of County Commissioners keeping an eye on all county funds, but a whole new public hearing process is in effect and is …
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Not only is the Elbert Board of County Commissioners keeping an
eye on all county funds, but a whole new public hearing process is
in effect and is sure to raise some eyebrows — but in a good
The commissioner board has made some significant changes to do
business more efficiently and openly for the public and also county
elected officials and county department heads.
With two new faces, the board not only looks different, but also
The first major and obvious change is the switch to only two
monthly commissioner meetings instead of four. Beginning March 1,
meetings will be the second and fourth Wednesday of each month and
will only be conducted in the morning unless more time is needed in
the afternoon to finish business.
If an emergency meeting is needed outside of the two monthly
meetings, it will be published and the public will be given notice
of the meeting.
Commissioner John Shipper said the change is an effort to
conduct business more efficiently.
“I don’t see the point in having a meeting in the morning for 20
minutes and a meeting in the afternoon for 20 minutes,” he
The agenda for the commissioner meetings has also changed
compared to the previous administration.
Every meeting will have a specific time for elected officials
and department heads to voice any comment regarding upcoming
events, announcements or concerns in the county. The public will
also have a specific time to voice any comments regarding county
business during the meetings.
“As far as I’m concerned anybody that wants to stand up at the
commissioner meetings during public comment and make a comment for
three minutes or less, we would welcome that,” Shipper said.
Even the overall mood during the commissioner meetings has
changed. Not only can people approach the commissioners during the
meeting at the podium, but they are welcome and encouraged to speak
to the commissioners off the record.
Chairman of the board Hope Goetz said she and her fellow
commissioners do not take themselves too seriously during meetings
and work together as a team when making decisions.
“We don’t consider ourselves in charge of the other two people,”
she said. “We are openly communicating and openly disagreeing
sometimes, but we are all equal and we have an opinion about our
thoughts and it’s a totally different board than before.”
Some of the changes made in the meetings came after visiting
four other counties and observing how their meetings were
conducted. The commissioners traveled to Adams County, Arapahoe
County, Douglas County and El Paso County. Commissioner Del Schwab
said they picked pieces out of each style of meeting to bring back
to Elbert County.
One of the aspects Schwab said he strongly supports in other
counties is the open dialog between the commissioners which he said
allows them to have a comfort zone.
“The open dialog is not only good for the public but it’s also
good for the commissioners to understand where the other
commissioner is coming from,” he said.
Goetz said she was pleased to bring back new ideas she learned
from other counties. She said there are so many things she was not
aware of, and with the help of her fellow colleagues, the public
will be seeing some major improvements in the board.
“The possibilities are endless on the improvements and we are
just getting started,” she said.
Another change the board has made is conducting study sessions
on all major projects in the county. The session will allow the
board to ask any and all questions about the project to any
department that will be affected by the project and become more
educated on the project before making a final decision.
Schwab said the board is utilizing all resources available
before deciding on projects.
“The board is the three decision makers and we can make the
decisions without any other input, but we don’t want to,” Schwab
said. “I think that has happened in past governments and that is
certainly not what we want to do.”
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