Skip to content

Local Advocacy: Lines of Authority in Estes Park

Local Advocacy: Lines of Authority in Estes Park

Local Advocacy: Lines of Authority in Estes Park

This article by Mayor Koenig is a good reminder how things get done and who to tap when you need help. We'll include the full text here with attribution to both the Trail Gazette and Estes Park News, who both printed the column.

Approaching my two-year mark as mayor, I continue being surprised by some of the requests that I receive from people who live, work or visit Estes Park. I attribute most of my surprise to requestors not understanding the role of mayor here, and how that role differs from the roles of mayors in other locales.

Estes Park is a statutory town with a Town Board-Town Administrator form of government. In that form, as set forth in state statute, the Town Board including the Mayor is the legislative body determining laws and policies for Estes Park. The Town Administrator, a direct employee of the board, implements the policies, giving direction to staff, while managing the day-to-day operations of the town.

When I receive requests pertaining to specific problems, regarding Town services, I refer the information to Travis. He contacts the appropriate department manager to investigate and repair the problem. TA Travis reports back to me that the problem has been taken care of and follows up with the person reporting the problem, if needed.

As an example, imagine that a townsperson contacts me. “Hey Mayor, there’s water gushing up from the street in front of my house,” she says. In a nonstatutory town, a mayor would call the head of the water department. But here in Estes, I contact the town administrator, Travis Machalek, who in turn contacts the
water department head, who in turn sends someone over to repair the break. Break fixed, Travis calls, “All good Mayor.” Then calls the person who reported it was gushing to say, “It’s fixed.”

magine again, Estes is receiving a heavy snowfall. I receive an email stating some streets and roads are clear, others full of snow. I know that the snow crews for Estes Park do an amazing job of plowing. I also know that not all roads in, around and through Estes are the responsibility of the town, the county and state have responsibility for maintaining some of them. I send the email information to Travis. “Hey Travis, please take care of this.” Within a few minutes, an email arrives “Not to worry Mayor, we’ll take care of ours streets and roads and contact the County and Colorado Department of Transportation to take care of theirs.”

Now, imagine it is early morning, on a weekday. On my phone, a voice desperately says, “Mayor Koenig, I’m at Stanley Park with a group of children. The toilet doors are locked.” The Town runs the Fair Grounds, the park next to it is the jurisdiction of the Parks and Recreation District—a separate tax district. So, when I call Travis, he’ll calls his counterpart at Parks and Recreation, effectively handing off the concern to the appropriate jurisdiction.

From these imaginary scenarios, I hope you have a glimpse into why I appreciate the clear lines of authority that comes from Estes Park being a statutory town. The delineation of board and the town administrator responsibilities makes clear the way we do things here. And why some requests surprise me. Surprises or not, I look forward to working with you to advance the common good of Estes Park. You can reach me at (970) 577-3706 and or meet with me during office hours on Tuesday and Thursday 10 a.m. until noon or Wednesday and Friday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. To schedule an appointment call (970) 577- 4777.

Leave a Comment
* Required field