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Wed, Dec. 02

Ryan spells out role Coconino County plays for constituents

I would like to take you on a short synaptic (brain cells…or those that remain) journey, sharing my observations and experiences in the communities I serve. Due to the election last year and our desire to keep politics out of my bimonthly articles, it’s been a year since I’ve had the opportunity to write my column. Having been on the other side of the election process, I can see how, from a layperson’s perspective, it got weird. I’m just glad to be back among the living, breathing folk again.

Wow, a lot happens in one year! I could review the details, but everyone did that at the turn of the year. I have heard many ideas, both common and peculiar, over the past four years; it comes from seeing many people. One learns much this way.

Ideas continue to change while they remain quite the same, and yet somewhat tweaked. It’s like wandering around communities and taking in the landscape. One can read about our communities and consult old pictures, seeing much the same with mild changes. You might see an early 1900s cabin that has a satellite dish as the only new addition; while in other areas, large new houses have sprouted on roads that crisscross areas that used to be empty meadows.

It’s the same in many ways with ideas. Good old ones remain the same with mild changes, while many new ideas propagate almost as fast as computer generations. If only they all talked to each other!

Using these experiences, let me tell you what Brenda Grey and I will be up to as we alternate writing these articles. In the past, Brenda, our citizen outreach coordinator, and I have taken turns writing this monthly article, and we hope to continue to do so to help you understand what we are doing in Coconino County. There are three themes that we usually work around.

The first is people and humanity. You are the county, beautiful and diverse. We are either out there among you or interacting with you in many ways. As you know, in the western portion of the County, not everyone thinks the exact same thoughts. I have to admit that I have run into a share of stubbornness and pride, practicality and personal positions, and disagreements. Imagine that! And yet in doing so, I find great ideas and fascinating personalities that fit this beautiful landscape.

The second theme is what people within the organization (county government) are doing and how people use our services. Most folks don’t use our services until they need to and often don’t know what we do. We would like to give you a glimpse of these services and why we provide them.

We have 30 departments. Some administer federal programs, some state programs and others implement and administer local programs. And some provide support services to these departments to help them run more efficiently, so we can provide these services when you need them. Once you see our programs and services in detail, you’ll find that there is a practical application for each of them. You’ll meet the people that deliver the services and see the benefits they offer.

The third theme is to help clarify tough issues. I hope to bring to you varied thoughts and opinions that I come across and how we … that’s you — the people, the Coconino County Board of Supervisors and I make choices in each unique scenario. Some influences are local, while others arise from other communities in the county, the state, or at the federal level. Understanding the reasons and various influences helps you better understand why we make decisions that may affect you.

I’ve found that many people are either too busy trying to make ends meet, or having fun, to be caught up in what we are doing. The more information we provide, the more you understand, and the better job we do. I look forward to trying to make it work well during this term.

(Matt Ryan is Coconino County Supervisor for District 3, which includes Williams.)

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