The year of 2020 was a truly challenging year to be Chair of the Board. In good years, the role of Chair is to keep the County priorities moving while staying on budget, be ready to respond to emergencies and speak for the County as a whole. Ideally the Chair helps keep the Board united so that staff can move forward on its priorities with confidence. The Chair is in a position to provide leadership to the community in times of difficulty. The emergence of COVID and all of the challenges this posed to our entire community, including health care workers, small businesses, and “contract” or self-employed workers, added to the importance and stress of keeping the ship afloat, watching out for our public safety, and somehow moving forward with the regular order.
Each of the challenges we faced also provided an opportunity to be creative and form new relationships. For the first time, the cities, hospitals/clinics, and the County met regularly to create a strong united set of actions and message to the community on public health. For the first time the County has hosted monthly business round-tables, specifically addressing the business community challenges and needs, filling a void that business associations and Chambers usually fill. And for the first time, the County redirected State funds to business and non-profit support, and to broadband access for school children. This is a way we can shine even when times are hard.
I leave the Chair position, honored by the trust the community has put in me and this Board, and deeply grateful to the hard working staff at the County for staying the course despite a multitude of hardships. I look forward to putting my energy back into longer term solutions for our rural challenges. Stay safe everyone, and have a happy (stay at home) New Years.
Thank you to everyone.