With little in the way of new business on the agenda, the Tuesday evening Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners meeting was an emotional farewell to outgoing Commissioner Bob Moomaw.
Following a report by Airport Advisory Commission member Mike Arbuthnot (see related article) and a quick decision to reappoint area resident J.R. Ford to the Board of Directors for the Southwestern Water Conservation District, Commissioners Clifford Lucero and John Ranson chose to honor their colleague at the end of his term in office.
“We’re losing a good friend, but also a good commissioner,” Lucero said before turning the floor over to Ranson.
Ranson, after admitting that he’s been accused of getting emotional and had written out his statement, began with humor.
“I still remember sitting at the table with you, Bob, as you interviewed the financial taskforce members three and a half years ago. At that time, I was thankful to be selected as the youngest member,” Ranson said. “Now, thanks to your decision to goof off, I became the elder commissioner who will now have to be the one asking for the restroom breaks.”
Ranson then called Moomaw a true leader and a professional who “stepped up in a big way” to make tough decisions for the county.
“... You provided the real necessary elements for this county to recover — leadership and decision-making abilities,” Ranson said.
With emotion hitting, Ranson continued his statement.
“Working with you and Clifford has been a real treasure,” Ranson said, citing that, though the three are very different in a number of ways, they worked well together when the county needed teamwork to survive. “As a county citizen, I want to thank you for being the right man at the right time.”
Ranson also thanked Moomaw on a personal note, calling him a mentor and teacher, voicing that Moomaw’s honesty and integrity will be missed, and refusing to remove Moomaw from his speed dial. “Thanks, Bob, for who you are.”
With a focus on the advancement of the county’s finances from a negative fund balance to a comfortably positive amount during Moomaw’s tenure, Lucero and Ranson then presented Moomaw with a plaque demonstrating the county’s financial progress before Lucero gave his comments on Moomaw.
Lucero’s farewell to his coworker was also emotional, with tissues offered to Lucero by Moomaw.
“Bob’s always been there for me,” Lucero said. “He’s been a rock on this commission and he’s been solid.”
Lucero said Moomaw took him under his wing when Lucero was a new commissioner and made him a better commissioner and person while working to improve every situation.
“Thanks from the bottom of my heart,” Lucero said.
Lucero then read a letter from Pagosa Springs Mayor Ross Aragon, who was in a separate meeting at the time.
In the letter, Aragon recognized Moomaw’s service and noted that Moomaw helped facilitate a close working relationship between the town and county in a number of areas.
The letter also stated that the entire community owes Moomaw gratitude.
With that, Lucero and Ranson read a proclamation in honor of Moomaw, calling him “instrumental” in the rebuilding of the county, noting his commitment to professionalism and adding that Archuleta County citizens enjoy a higher quality of life following Moomaw’s years on the BoCC.
During public comment, Treasurer Betty Diller told Moomaw it has been a pleasure to serve with him and that, most of all, she appreciated his heart.
Commissioner-elect Michael Whiting also thanked Moomaw for his commitment, honesty and advice even while the two were briefly political opponents (Moomaw withdrew from a bid for reelection).
Moomaw joined the BoCC in 2007 in the midst of the county’s financial meltdown after being elected in November 2006.
Whiting will be sworn in along with the other elected officials (save Treasurer Betty Diller, who was sworn in on Dec. 30) Monday, Jan. 10 at 10 a.m. and will take office beginning Tuesday, Jan. 11.
The next regular BoCC meeting is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on Jan. 18.