A Conversation With … County Commissioner Kristen Manguso
What are some of your strengths and experiences that you think will aid you in your job as county commissioner?
My desire to strengthen the internal county relationships, as well as with the public, our municipalities as well as county employees, including the other elected officials. I strive to have very respectful, open, honest communication with everyone regarding ideas and thoughts on how to make positive changes in our county. I believe that my past experience as a county employee as well as planning director gives me unique insight into the inner workings of our county government.
What do you think your biggest challenges will be during your first year in office?
Restoring trust … both with the public and internally within the county administrative building.
What do you believe makes a good leader?
A leader will generate enthusiasm within any organization. This is done by giving respect, having open, honest communication and ensuring that people get credit for their ideas. A leader will under no circumstances ever attack or create a fearful working environment.
Name one issue from the last three years that you think the board of county commissioners handled well. How did they handle it well?
I like what was done with the whitewater park. This was a collaborative effort headed by Grand County that will help keep water in our rivers, and provide a great recreational area.
Name one issue from the last three years that you think the board of county commissioners could have handled better. What would you have done differently?
This is a difficult question as hindsight is always 20/20, and commissioners act as a whole, so I can only answer what I would have suggested to the other two. With that in mind, I have not been shy about disagreeing with how the building department embezzlement situation was handled. It is my opinion that it would have served the county well to have removed the emotion from the situation in the very beginning. We are a tight knit community and most people know one another, especially when one is a longtime county employee with a visible job. When something like that happens, there is a lot of emotion both within the organization, and in the public, which creates turmoil. I was discussing this with an individual at the time, and I would have taken that person’s suggestion that the county would be well served by hiring a temporary crisis public relations individual and outside legal counsel to help resolve the situation. The purpose would have been to focus on removing the personal aspect, finding a solution and avoid pointing fingers.
How will you work to make Grand County government more transparent?
I believe that live audio streaming will go a long way toward increasing transparency at the board meetings and is a very positive idea. I would also like to consider anonymous surveys, both within the government and the public to get their input. Initially, this may be difficult, but over time I am hopeful that surveys may be a relatively inexpensive and effective method of engaging our public in the county process, which would benefit us all. I am also available to talk or meet with anyone, and welcome suggestions and ideas. My cell number is 970-531-8283. Please don’t hesitate to call me.
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The Grand Lake Fire Protection District has abandoned a voter-approved effort to run its own EMS transports as the department and county officials re-evaluate how that service might be provided.