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RBC I Just short of two years on the job, Rio Blanco County Administrator Kimberly Bullen turned in her resignation to the county commissioners on April 8 in Rangely, with the resignation becoming effective Friday.
“I gave my two weeks notice, and I will be leaving here proud of some things that have been accomplished and frustrated over some others,” Bullen said. “I suppose I could say I felt very frustrated knowing that the commissioners and I had the same vision for the future, just a disagreement on how fast to move forward and the manner in which to move in that direction.”
Bullen joined Rio Blanco County in June 2011 from Grand Junction, where she had been working with the energy management program at Colorado Mesa University. Prior to that, she worked on a criminal justice project for Colorado’s 21st Judicial District and previously had been the emergency management director for Mesa County.
Shawn Bolton, chairman of the Rio Blanco County Board of Commissioners spoke highly of Bullen, but agreed the board and Bullen were disagreeing over the way to go about moving forward.
“I have every bit of respect for Bullen and the job she did,” Bolton said. “Sometimes there are long-set ways that get in the way of progress, and I would agree with Kim that the speed and direction to move was where we disagreed. I also agree with her that the board’s and her vision of the future was the same.”
Bolton also said that the board is not going to waste time in deciding what to do next.
“We will not name an interim administrator; all three of us commissioners are in full agreement that we want to go after another county administrator who can direct the county, on where we, the commissioners want to go,” he said. “We need someone to steer the ship and the county administrator can do that much better than the three commissioners can do it.”
Bullen said she is most proud of the great cooperation received by all partners involved in extending the sewer line to Curtis Creek.
“This a great project for the future of expansion to the Curtis Creek area and the cooperation of the state, county and local entities involved has been exemplary,” she said. “No one in particular gains from this project, but all entities stand to gain, and this has been a real team effort.”
Other things she said she is proud of include: development of the Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) trail system; working with the different county projects; preparing the strategic planning survey in which county residents will help set the course for the future of Rio Blanco County; establishing customer service training; and having written a job description for the county administrator.
“This is really important because the job description also sets the blueprint for how local government should be organized,” Bullen said. “The commissioners can follow that blueprint now to move forward, and I believe the county had already built the foundation for that.”
Bolton said, “One of the great things Kimberly did when she was here to set the blueprint for us through the job description she established. We can take that document, follow it and move on without missing a beat. We are forever thankful for that and a number of other things she did.”
“She is a winner and will be a success wherever she goes,” Bolton said. “She got a lot of things accomplished for us.”
As for her frustrations, Bullen said that after completing the blueprint, “I didn’t feel I could take the commissioners any farther.”
“Organizations are tough to change, and the board’s job is to make changes they know know are needed and it is difficult,” Bullen said. “It is tough to change a long-established mindset when things have always been done one way.
“It is the commission’s job to set policy to commit to moving forward,” she said. “It is the administrator’s job to implement the way to get there, and that is where we disagreed.”
Bullen said she has no ill will toward the commissioners and that she is grateful for the opportunity to work in Rio Blanco County.
“There is just so much potential in Rio Blanco County,” she said. “I have no regrets and am very happy I came here. It was a great opportunity and I must say I worked with a lot of good people.”
Bullen said she has no immediate plans but to “regroup and re-energize; but then I do love working with small communities, so we’ll see where I end up.”
Bullen also has family and residential ties to Meeker, “So, I will be in and out of Meeker; I truly care for the town and will enjoy many future visits.”