Club 20 on hunt for new director

The new head of the Western Slope’s lobbying organization likely will be expected to know much more than roads and water.

The executive committee of the organization, which was founded more than half a century ago to get money for roads and to protect the region’s water, is now drawing together a job description and fielding inquiries.

One individual, former U.S. Rep. Scott McInnis, R-Colo., meanwhile said Tuesday he was willing to fill in on an interim basis for departing Executive Director Reeves Brown.

Brown, who has served as the organization’s executive director for 10 years, was tapped by Gov.-elect John Hickenlooper to head the Department of Local Affairs. Brown is to take over the agency in February.

Under Brown, Club 20 was deeply involved in health care discussions; that’s an area in which some board members expect his successor to be active.

Already, regional differences in health care are rearing up across the state, said Ann McCoy, a former chairwoman of Club 20.

“We’ve already got less service, and the federal government is promising less service for more money,” McCoy said.

That’s just the kind of regional issue that has driven Club 20 from its inception. Health care, though, also is a revenue source for the organization, which received a community-engagement grant of nearly $400,000 over three years from the Colorado Trust’s “Public-Will Building” program.

Higher education and work-force development are areas that “probably will even broaden in scope” under the new director, said Kathy Hall, also a former chairwoman.

Brown’s replacement will have to master all those issues and more, such as agriculture, said Steve Reynolds, chairman-elect of the organization.

Club 20 leadership is all the more important because no statewide officials hail from rural Colorado, much less the Western Slope, McInnis said.

That makes Club 20 all the more important with “Denver-centric” leadership in the Legislature and the state bureaucracy, McInnis said.

The executive committee of Club 20 expects to post the job later this week, and Chairman Jeff Comstock said he anticipates a great deal of interest and already had taken several phone calls from interested individuals.

“It’s the first time the position has been open in a decade,” Comstock said, referring to Brown’s tenure. “It’s a once-in-a-decade opportunity.”

Brown will remain on the job through January and said he hopes to provide part-time transition help well into February, as he embarks on a schedule that will have him work three days a week in Denver and the other days on the road or in Grand Junction.

It’s possible to have a handful of candidates selected by the end of January and a successor hired and working in eight weeks, Brown said.


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