MONTROSE – Following last week’s resignation of County Manager Rick Eckert, the Montrose Board of County Commissioners unanimously appointed Facilities Manager Ken Norris for the role of interim county manager at their Monday meeting.
Norris, county facility manager since 2010, agreed to fill the chair while the county conducts a nationwide search for Eckert’s replacement. Norris will fill in for Eckert, who goes on vacation until May 11, and then will officially takes on the role of interim county manager May 16.
“Having personally known Ken for about five years ,and being aware of his reputation that preceded him, and his resume, I’d like to say we are fortunate to have a man of his caliber to step in and fill in as county manager,” Commissioner Ron Henderson said, prior to the commissioners’ unanimous approval of assigning Norris to the interim position.
Eckert, who came onboard as county manager on Jan. 1, 2013, tendered his letter of resignation to the county on April 23. In it, he cited the contentious political nature of the county for being responsible, at least in part, for his calling it quits.
“Lack of civility in conducting the public business, whether from the press, groups or individuals, is indicative of what is happening in Washington, D.C., Denver, and locally,” Eckert wrote in his letter. “The tone and demeanor of the majority of speakers at the last FBO public hearing is a perfect example….
“The constant, non-stop contention, with no end in sight, is not physically sustainable,” he continued. “The stress of constant contention takes a toll on any Manager, and it is neither normal nor healthy. Debate, dissention, and dialogue are both healthy and necessary, but contention is not.”
Eckert closed his letter by stating that while in his short time in Montrose County he worked with “best” employees he’s seen in his career and that the county should be proud of the “quality and dedication” of the county employees.
Chacho, Rackay Appointed to MMH Board of Trustees
Following the removal of three trustees from the Montrose Memorial Hospital Trustees by the Montrose Board of County Commissioners in February, the commissioners filled two of three vacancies on the board with Mark Rackay and Michael Chacho on Monday.
Commissioner Ron Henderson made the motion to appoint Rackay and Chacho to the two vacancies on the beleaguered MMH Board of Trustees. Both commissioners Gary Ellis and David White approved Henderson’s motion.
Chacho and Rackay were two of five applicants, including Murray Johnson, Don Gladwell and Patricia Lang, who offered to volunteer to the board.
After appointing filling only two of the three vacancies on the board, resident Roger Brown asked if the commissioners planned to fill the third and final vacancy on the board at that time, to which Henderson responded: “There is no one else that I want to appoint.”
Former trustees J. Don Vacca, Matthew Nocas and Scott Ludian were removed from the board by Henderson and White last November for allegedly acting beyond their scope of authority by voting to remove Trustee Richard Harding from the board last year after he refused to submit a social security number for a background check. The commissioners contend the three former boardmembers showed a lack of oversight in the protection of county-owned assets.
County Seeks $2.6 FAA Grant for Commercial Apron Expansion
The Montrose Regional Airport could receive a $2.6 million Federal Aviation Administration grant to expand and rehabilitate the commercial apron at the airport, if the grant is approved.
At Monday’s meeting, the Montrose Board of County Commissioners approved the application for the $2.6 million grant that, if granted, will require a local match of $144,444.
If the grant is ultimately awarded to Montrose County, construction is expected to begin sometime late July. The expansion of the commercial apron at the airport will increase it by 8,600 square yards and will provide for additional airplane parking.