Jean Alberico at her retirement party. Photo by Amy Hadden Marsh

“Jean, you are a leader,” proclaimed Michelle Davies, administrative assistant to the Garfield County Clerk and Recorder, at the Jan. 9 Garfield County Commissioners meeting. It was the last time Democrat Jean Alberico would take her seat alongside the board before Republican Jackie Harmon steps in.

Davies directed the Jan. 5 retirement bash for Alberico and, after Davies thanked her team, she thanked her boss, whom she said wasn’t really a boss. “A boss stands outside of their team, giving directions, while a leader is in the trenches with their team, helping them through every up and down.”

Davies, hired onto Alberico’s staff 11 years ago, stated Monday that she and the rest of the staff were lucky to have worked with her. “We’ve had a lot of ups and downs, and deaths. We went through COVID. We’ve come through to the other side and our team strives because of you,” she said. “There’s no doubt about that.”

Davies also thanked Alberico for helping her through personal and professional challenges. “There’s not enough words to express my gratitude,” she said.

Silt resident Caleb Waller thanked Alberico for restoring his faith in elections and for inspiring him to become an election judge.

In other news, the commissioners, all of whom were present for Monday’s hour-long meeting, approved a Memorandum of Understanding with the White River National Forest to participate in the Roaring Fork Valley Wildfire Collaborative. They also granted an event liquor license for the PEO Sisterhood International Chapter IW, a philanthropic group in Battlement Mesa, and approved the weekly consent agenda, including the Board’s 2023 policy directives.

Commissioner Jankovsky inquired about the miles of county streets that qualify for the state Highway Users Tax Fund (HUTF) before approving a road inventory for reimbursement from the fund. According to Wyatt Keesbery, county road and bridge foreman, there are 590.765 miles of arterial and local streets that qualify for HUTF money.

Commissioners also approved a “call-up” for a public hearing about the Fussner Minor Subdivision on 41 acres of the old Ascendigo property, 4.7 miles northeast of Carbondale, on Missouri Heights. According to county documents, on Dec. 8, 2022, the Community Development department director approved a land use change permit to divide a single, 41-acre parcel into a 36-acre parcel and a five-acre parcel. An attorney representing Tommy Baras, a neighbor to the property, requested the call-up, which allows commissioners to either uphold the director’s decision or call for a public hearing.

The Board agreed that they usually do not deny a call-up; however, Jankovsky put forth a motion to uphold the director’s decision, stating that the neighbors’ concerns were addressed during the 2021 Ascendigo Ranch hearings. “We saw NIMBY-ism so strongly with these neighbors and it continues,” he said. “That’s my reason for supporting the motion to uphold the director’s decision besides it being a good decision.”

Mike Samson initially seconded the motion but backtracked, stating that he didn’t know enough about the proposed subdivision and that “everyone deserves their day in court.” He and Commission Chair John Martin voted against Jankovsky’s motion and ultimately in favor of a public hearing, scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 21 at 1 p.m.

Photo by Amy Hadden Marsh