Hopf: McLaughlin exiting as County Board chairman with Post on track to lead

Posted: Nov. 16, 2012 11:19 am Updated: Dec. 28, 2012 2:15 pm

There will be a new look in the leadership of the Adams County Board when it reorganizes in two weeks after Mike McLaughlin steps down as chairman after 16 years.

"I look forward to taking a backseat," McLaughlin told members last week.

The plan has been in place since 2010, when McLaughlin -- seeking his eighth two-year term as chairman -- agreed to not seek another term in exchange for enough votes to push back the leadership challenge of Republican District 5 member Rick Gengenbacher.

Gengenbacher, who eventually was chosen as vice chairman two years ago, said he made the run at the chairmanship because he believed it was time for a change at the top, and not necessarily because he had issues on the way McLaughlin ran the board.

Gengenbacher is not seeking the chairmanship this time. If all goes as planned when the vote is taken Dec. 3, that title and responsibility will go to Les Post, R-6.

"I was asked by some of the members and finally made a decision last week that I would pursue it," Post said. "I think I have a lot of support, and obviously it's not over until the vote on. If that's the wishes of the board, I look forward to serving as chairman."

Post, a farmer from Golden, was first appointed to the County Board in February 2010 when John Hibbert was forced to resign after being convicted of a felony.

Post has been chairman of the board's Transportation, Building and Technology Committee for two years, and was appointed to the county's Ambulance Board earlier this year. He also serves as chief of the Golden Fire Department.

Whatever Republican is selected as chairman will have a definite political advantage. The GOP took 16 of the 21 seats up for election earlier this month.

McLaughlin believes Post would make a good chairman, citing his rural background. Gengenbacher also believes Post would do well.

"I think it's time for a change," Gengenbacher said. "Les has always been straightforward and honest."

Post said no matter who is the next chairman, no one can fill McLaughlin's shoes.

"You try to do the best you can and move forward, but there are a lot of years of experience there that are hard to replace," he said. "The nice thing is Mike will be on the board, and if I am the new chairman, then he will be available to offer support and guidance."

Selecting a new chairman is not the only purpose of the reorganizational meeting. County Board members will be sworn in and will draw straws to see how long their terms last.

Because of redistricting after the U.S. Census, all 21 seats were up for election this year. Some members will receive two-year terms, while the rest will start with four-year terms.

The real work begins the following week when the County Board will be asked to approve the tax levy for property taxes due next year.