Kudos to Kadrich

The Grand Junction City Council is debating whether to restore a 3 percent pay cut for city employees that was implemented in 2009. Council members, understandably, want more information before reaching a decision.

However, the fact that the council is having the discussion at all is due to a couple of factors. One is the slight uptick in city revenues this year, which is projected to continue into next year.

More importantly, City Manager Laurie Kadrich and her staff — with the support of the City Council — took aggressive action beginning in 2009, when it became clear that city revenues were tumbling. They reduced expenses in a variety of areas, but personnel costs were probably the most impacted. In addition to the salary cuts, total employment at the city has dropped from more than 700 to 630 people.

We mention the budget issue because it is among the more mundane — but incredibly important — issues that a city administrator must contend with.

We don’t always agree with Kadrich. Just a few weeks ago, we complained about the lack of transparency surrounding the city’s effort to land a minor league baseball team. No doubt, we’ll continue to disagree with her on issues in the future.

But, because we have been critical in the past, we believe it’s also important to recognize her accomplishments.

Kadrich could be taking a well-deserved victory lap right now because she took the lead on negotiating with officials from the Colorado Rockies to move a Rookie League farm club from Casper, Wyo., to Grand Junction. As a result of those efforts, and the unanimous decision of the City Council Monday night, the Grand Junction Rockies will begin playing at Suplizio Field next June.

That will be a boon to baseball fans around the region, who savor the opportunity to see young players working their way toward the Major Leagues while competing locally. It will also be an economic benefit to this community and to the city of Grand Junction.

While it’s been known for some time that the Monfort brothers, principal owners of the Colorado Rockies, were interested in locating a farm club in Grand Junction, Kadrich deserves credit for her work over six months to hammer out the details of the deal.

Then there is the new public safety facility that local folks have been watching take shape downtown. Three years ago, Kadrich led the effort to get city voters to approve plans for a much larger, more ambitious plan for new police and fire department headquarters. For a number of reasons, including the economy and the complexity of the ballot measures, voters rejected that plan.

After nearly a year of listening to voters on what sort of plan they would favor, Kadrich developed the plan that the City Council approved, which is allowing the new police building to be constructed without a tax hike. Although it is considerably scaled back from the 2008 plan, the net result is the Grand Junction Police Department will soon be in new facilities and out of an old building that everybody agreed was inadequate.

From the mundane to the baseball diamond, Kadrich can point to a number of clutch plays she’s made recently.


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