Letter to the Editor: Supporting Si Woodruff for commissioner

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Dear Editor:
As the editor of Rio Blanco Herald Times, you say you don’t want to tell the good citizens of Rio Blanco County how to vote, but you make disparaging remarks that makes it sound like you don’t think anyone should support Si Woodruff as commissioner.

Your statement, “A commissioner needs a well-rounded knowledge of all things Rio Blanco County and a public outgoing persona that like to and needs to deal with all persons in the county.” As if Si doesn’t have either qualities, when in fact, he has both.
Si had many years as sheriff in Rio Blanco County dealing with the most of the citizens at one time or another. As sheriff, he had to work with all of the departments of the county, all of the agencies (i.e. Forest Service, BLM, DOW, etc.), farmers, ranchers, coal miners, oil and gas workers, businesses, other workers and non-workers.
Previous to his stint as sheriff, he was chief of police here in Meeker and worked with a lot of those same people on a daily basis. It is my understanding as sheriff, Si made sure his deputies spent his budget money for the jail food and other items as equally as possible on both ends of the county.
You indicate that a commissioner has to have knowledge of budgeting. Si, as sheriff, had to submit a budget to the RBC Budget/Finance Office every year. He probably did the same to the town budget officer as chief of police. You make it sound like the commissioners are know-it-alls as far as budgeting.
It is the county budget/finance director that makes sure the department heads stay in line with the budget guidelines the commissioners have set up, based on where the budget/finance director tells the commissioners their funding is.
Along that line, the commissioners are not all knowing. That is why there are specialists called department heads for each department.
Eskelson pointed out a few weeks ago how many millions in grants Rio Blanco County has gotten over the last few years. The way the report was written it made it sound like the commissioners are responsible for getting the grants. That is not true. Most of the time it is the employee in the department that has applied for the grant, and all the commissioners and department heads have to do is say “yes” when notified of a grant receipt.
There are always strings attached regarding reports back to the grant giver and it is the employee who usually has to do the reporting.
Funny how those kind of things aren’t reported.
Eskelson said, “Current commissioners were riding high on shoulders of previous commissioners who had built a significant county financial reserve.” It is time for them to quit riding those shoulders.
Our county has been pretty depressed economically for several years. We need those reserves to see us through tough times, not to continue spending them like we are at the candy store.
I was told that the budget/finance director was trying to get the commissioners to rebuild the CCITF funds back up to the $18 million fund they started with.
Our past commissioners were smart to invest those CCITF funds and only use the interest earned, but that has not happened recently. Which only makes it worse because since 2008 the county investments, like all of our own investments, have take hit after hit in the earned interest category.
Other counties spent their CCITF funds right away and have nothing to work with during the hard times. We don’t want our county to end up that way!
We have a team of three commissioners who spend, spend, spend.
Recently one of the commissioners reported that the county had partnered with WPX. Within a week I saw an article in the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel about WPX selling off their Piceance Creek holdings. I’d say that isn’t a very good partnership if one of the partners in no longer around.
You’ve reported a couple of times how people are not happy with the façade of the Justice Center because it doesn’t have the stone from the old elementary school as promised. Then I read that the Justice Center came in under budget.
The commissioners once again made a promise they didn’t keep. And Eskelson wants to keep the “team” together. I don’t think that is the kind of team I want representing me in Rio Blanco County.
Eskelson has only been in office three years, had no real “ well-rounded knowledge of all things Rio Blanco County and a public outgoing persona that like to and needs to deal with all persons in the county.”
He had only been living back in Rio Blanco County a few years, worked in the oil and gas field and has a business that makes bow strings for sale outside of our county.
He pointed out that he is on some important committees in the state. Well, if he could get on those important committees in such a short time, I believe any commissioner would be able to do the same.
Si worked on committees with other sheriffs in the state and country. People in this county need to look at what has really been accomplished by our current commissioners and how much of it was wanted or necessary.
Rangely can decide if they want Jon Hill representing them again on the west end of the county, but we need to get rid of Eskelson on the east end.
I support Si Woodruff as our county commissioner.
Hal Dolan