Jefferson County Commissioner Don Rosier was last month selected as president of the Front Range District of Colorado Counties, an advocacy group which advises county governments across the Front Range. It's a plum appointment for the first-term commissioner, who only took office last year after defeating incumbent Commissioner Kathy Hartman in 2010.
From the Jefferson County Board of Commissioners:
Jefferson County Commissioner Donald Rosier has been elected president of the Front Range District of Colorado Counties, Inc. (CCI), a group that represents boards of county commissioners from more than 60 Colorado counties.
The CCI Front Range District includes Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Douglas, El Paso, Jefferson, Larimer, and Weld counties and the City & County of Denver and City & County of Broomfield. It brings together commissioners from those counties who face similar challenges such as increasing urbanization, declining revenues and accelerating demands for services for citizens. By joining together, the commissioners share knowledge and experience, have a bigger voice on legislative matters, and work together on issues that cross county lines.
Rosier, who chairs the Jefferson County Board of County Commissioners, was sworn in as a Jeffco commissioner in 2011, and was named CCI's Freshman Commissioner of the Year during his first year in office.
CCI is a non-profit, membership association that provides information and education to county officials, and helps counties work together. Rosier was elected to head the Front Range group because of his work with other counties on critical issues such as transportation and economic development.
Rosier also serves on the National Association of Counties (NACo) Community and Economic Development Committee, which develops NACo policies and represents counties across the U.S. before Congress on matters related to community development and redevelopment, housing programs, building and housing codes, subdivision regulations, public works and economic development. Recently he was chosen as one of only 23 leaders in county government from across the U.S. to participate in a national leadership institute developed by NACo and the Cambridge Leadership Associates.
Locally, Rosier represents Jefferson County on several boards including the Denver Regional Council of Governments, the Jefferson Economic Development Corporation and the Jefferson Parkway Public Highway Authority.
Rosier has quickly become the face of the Board, leading the controversial charge to complete the Denver-metropolitan beltway while still finding time to scare little kids.
Rosier has risen to the top of county government, however, less because of any inherent ambition or talent and more because of the power vacuum left in the wake of the Kings' of Corruption abdications. Commissioners Jim Congrove and Kevin McCasky were so masterfully able to define -- and desecrate -- the Board of Commissioners because, working in tandem, they could ramrod through their policies with no questions asked. You could call it leadership, even if it was unquestionably corrupt -- and occasionally bizarre.
Indeed, Rosier's political profile has fallen into the spotlight in part because the current Board isn't really composed of strong personalities. Commissioner Faye Griffin, while popular, lacks the legislative chops to be anything more than a yes-woman. After decades in county government, she's proven to be a better bureaucrat than policymaker. And while Commissioner John Odom has made some of the same mistakes as his predecessors, he's too green -- commissioner is too big for the guy who's never successfully been elected to public office before.
And so Rosier, rocking facial hair which would make Colonel Sanders shudder, has alone been able to wield power in Jeffco. The Rosier era is doubtless an improvement over the reign of McCasky, Congrove, & company: there's been no major corruption scandals, yet.
Still, you've got to wonder: is this the best we can do? Should one man really set the direction of the county as a whole? And what has Rosier accomplished, anyway?
The Taj Mahal is no longer a font of shame and outrage for Jefferson County residents. But the county government isn't really anything to be proud of, either.
Don Rosier, then, is the rebound girlfriend of local politics: necessary to move on from past mistakes, but ultimately forgettable in the long run.