Consultant works with commissioners at retreat

The Mesa County Commissioners looked themselves in the mirror Thursday with the help of a consultant.

Commissioner Craig Meis was fidgety, bouncing his knee up and down constantly.

Commissioner Steve Acqua-fresca was quizzical, seeking a better understanding of information provided.

And Commissioner Janet Rowland was jabbed and rose to the defense of her aggressive nature.

The trio gathered at Palisade’s Wine Country Inn for their annual retreat. To begin the daylong affair, Sue Hanson, business consultant and owner of Sue Hanson Speaks, reviewed exams the commissioners took last month. The tests were intended to reveal the commissioners’ personality types, such as dominant, analytical or passive.

The results showed Rowland and Meis as being dominant, go-getters. They set goals, accomplish them and move on to the next challenge in rapid order.

Acquafresca, on the other hand, is more analytical. He must mull over questions, work through problems, analyze the facts and then when personally assured the choice is right, he acts.

The test results showed conflict exists among the board members and in the board’s interaction with county staff, and Hanson said that’s OK.

“Conflict is just a natural part of people getting along together,” she said. “Conflict is important.”

Some of the discussion hit upon Rowland’s leadership style. She made no apologies.

“I’m cautious about letting up, because then I fear nothing will get done,” Rowland said.

“What I keep hearing (though) is that I have got to change.”

Rowland’s drive tends to bump up against Acquafresca’s slower pace, Hanson said. But Rowland and Acquafresca were shown to be similar in the category of utilitarianism.

When this was revealed, Acquafresca quipped, “So there is a light of hope.”

When the subject of tension between the board and county staff was broached, several people acknowledged that tension is real.

Kimberly Bullen, senior management analyst for the county, said the perception is the commissioners are sometimes not interested in what staff thinks.

Meis commented that the atmosphere at the county seat has changed since he took office. Staff may be intimidated by the board and fearful to bring new ideas to the table, he said.

A dominant board creates a group of followers, Hanson said, adding, “You are a dominant board. You can easily be seen as intimidating.”

That dominant trait, instilled in the grain of two of the county’s three board members, has affected County Administrator Jon Peacock as well.

“The blessing and the curse is that there is a high sense of urgency about everything,” he said.

Hanson’s session with the commission was intended to find new ways to communicate and cooperate to achieve the people’s business.

“It’s about you three working together,” Hanson said.


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