Theobold in District D
Reford Theobold is no doubt already a pain in the posterior to Grand Junction City Manager Laurie Kadrich and members of the City Council. After all, the former City Council member who hopes to be elected again in April has been asking uncomfortable questions about city staff and payroll and about spending on street maintenance.
We’re not eager to see Kadrich’s job made more difficult. But we do believe it’s important for the City Council to have members willing to ask such difficult questions — not simply accept the word of city administrators.
That’s a primary reason we endorse Theobold over incumbent District D Councilwoman Bonnie Beckstein. Theobold demonstrated during his previous tenure on the council that he was more than willing to question city managers and challenge the majority on the council.
Beckstein, while an intelligent and capable woman, has shown little propensity for doing that.
Take city staffing. Theobold says that over the past four years, city population grew by 12 percent, but the number of full-time city employees increased by 19 percent and the city payroll rose by 38 percent. “It makes me uncomfortable with the direction the city is going,” he said.
Beckstein said she is not so concerned about how payroll has grown as she is with making sure the city has key people it needs, especially in public safety jobs. And she noted that pay increases were largely the result of a pay comparison survey the city did shortly after she joined the council.
On public safety facilities, both Beckstein and Theobold said the city needs to look at funding the project in phases, and both agreed asking voters for a tax increase is out of the question for now.
But Theobold went further. He said that in 2006 there was a draft proposal for a new public safety building costing $20 million, not the $98 million, multi-building proposal that voters rejected in November. He wants the city to re-examine the earlier proposal.
Beckstein and Theobold didn’t have major differences on the riverfront or Brady Trucking, but Theobold has more history on the issue. He was both a councilman and member of Grand Junction Lions Club when the community began its river cleanup.
But it is Theobold’s willingness to publicly challenge the official word from City Hall that sets him apart from his opponent. For that, he deserves support of city voters.