Mesa County administrator to step down

Peacock cites his family in decision

Mesa County Administrator Jon Peacock cited family matters in his decision to take an indefinite sabbatical.

Mesa County Administrator Jon Peacock said Thursday he will resign later this month, adding the decision to leave to tend to personal family matters was the hardest one he has made during his five years on the job.

Peacock told county employees this week his last day on the job will be July 21. He said he’s taking an indefinite sabbatical but would like to return to the public sector at some point.

While declining to get into more detail, Peacock said Thursday there had “been a lot of changes” on his wife’s side of the family, and he has taken a number of weeks off from his job to help handle them.

“There’s just a lot to manage there,” he said, adding he had been seriously contemplating resigning for about a month.

“I’m not happy with Jon’s departure, but I honor his willingness to prioritize his family,” Commissioner Craig Meis said.

Assistant County Administrator Stefani Conley will take over as acting county administrator while county commissioners consider how to recruit candidates to replace Peacock. She said she is “absolutely” interested in the permanent job.

Under Peacock’s watch, the county opened the first methamphetamine treatment center on the Western Slope, built the 29 Road bridge over the Colorado River, created the county’s largest park in Long Family Memorial Park, and developed an energy master plan to help guide energy development in the county.

Peacock and other county officials spent the past few years working with Clifton and Fruitvale residents to decide how those communities should be governed in the future. Ultimately, citizens elected to remain part of the unincorporated area of the county, rather than annex to Grand Junction or form their own municipality.

Peacock said he doesn’t consider a lack of a resolution to the long-standing governance question a failure. Rather, he believes the county succeeded in facilitating a community dialogue on the issue.

“It would be easy to say, ‘Boy, I wish they would have annexed.’ But we (the county) don’t deliver results there. We deliver democracy,” he said.

Commissioners praised Peacock for his diplomatic skills and his balanced viewpoints.

“He’s a very skilled people person. That goes a long way,” Commissioner Steve Acquafresca said.

Meis said one of the things he admires about Peacock is that, to this day, he still doesn’t know Peacock’s political affiliation.

“His ability to articulate tough issues to tough crowds is pretty impeccable,” Meis said. “He is what public service is all about.”

Commissioner Janet Rowland, who, along with Meis, was on the board of commissioners that hired Peacock, said she can’t think of anyone who has had something bad to say about Peacock.

“They may not have agreed with him, but when he was through talking with them, they understood why we were doing what we were doing,” she said.

Beyond relating to people, Peacock possesses a strong business acumen, she said.

“He wasn’t just a nice guy who could get a group hug out of people who disagreed with him. He could get things done,” Rowland said.

Rowland recalled a significant transition from former County Administrator Bob Jasper to Peacock and was surprised at how little push-back commissioners received from county employees.

“We felt like he was a bit young, but we felt like he had the ability to do the job,” she said of Peacock.

Peacock, who made $125,000 a year as county administrator, became the county administrator in 2005. He began working for the county in 2002 as the assistant county administrator.


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