Todd ending decades of public service

PHOTO BY CHRISTOPHER TOMLINSON—Monika Todd worked in the Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Office and went on to be elected clerk and recorder three times and county treasurer twice.

More than three decades of experience will leave Mesa County on Thursday, the last day for Monika Todd as county treasurer.

Todd’s two terms as treasurer followed three terms as county clerk and recorder, meaning she has served 20 years in elected office.

With term limits capping service at two terms in office, someone would have to serve the full complement of terms in two offices, then win election to a third to clear the bar Todd set.

It was in August 1977 that Todd went to work for Clerk and Recorder Earl Sawyer. She served as clerk to the county commissioners and then as elections director, and, when Sawyer died, she was asked to run to succeed him.

Todd faced her first, and only, opponent in the 1990 election.

The key, Todd said this week as she gestured toward 33 years of memorabilia already parceled up and ready to be taken home, was to know who was boss.

“I had 80,000 bosses, that’s what I always felt like,” Todd said. “I was elected by everybody in Mesa County.”

A Republican by philosophy, Todd said that was pretty much where it ended. She attended Republican Party events “and I went to Democratic functions, as well.”

She even won a union endorsement once, “and I was so honored,” she said. “It says so much if a Republican is endorsed by a union.”

All in all, not bad for a German girl who came to the United States with her GI husband, George. The couple headed first to Texas, then Oklahoma and Denver before making their way to Grand Junction.

Monika met George while she was working for an American airline in Germany. She was 23 and had a degree certifying her ability to speak English and French. The latter skill has largely gone unused, but the former helped her after she arrived in Texas, when she landed a job working in personnel for Campbell’s Soup.

The Todds left Texas for Tulsa and vacationed in Colorado, until the day they couldn’t bear to leave the Centennial State.

“We bought a house at 10:30 at night” in Denver, and the Todds sent regrets to their employers and started anew, she said.

“That’s the ultimate pioneer spirit, huh?” Todd said.

Eight years later, they came to Grand Junction.

Technically, her term ends Friday, but that’s a holiday. Per state law, Todd’s successor, Janice Ward, must be on the job the first business day of the new year, Jan. 3, so that’s when Ward will be sworn in.

In the corner office, Ward will inherit a view of Grand Mesa and downtown, and Todd’s collection of stuffed and ceramic elephants, which Todd no longer will need.

Todd serves on the board of Catholic Social Services and will use her newfound free time to volunteer there more, she said.

Her closets also need cleaning and her husband has some honey-dos to accomplish, Todd said.

But the next time she visits the county office, it will be as a resident, nothing more, Todd said.

“It’s time,” she said, “for me to say good-bye.”


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