Garfield County Manager Kevin Batchelder to retire in September
June 6, 2022
Garfield County Manager Kevin Batchelder is retiring from his role, effective Sept. 16, 2022. Hired as county manager in 2015, Batchelder said it has been a privilege serving the people of Garfield County for the past eight years.
“My service as county manager has been incredibly rewarding, both professionally and personally, and I would like to thank you for the opportunity, as well as the support you have given me throughout my tenure,” he wrote in his retirement notice to the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC). “The county is in a strong position financially, with a talented and dedicated management team in place. I am confident the county is in good hands.”
Batchelder, who recently celebrated his 65th birthday, plans to spend more time with friends and family, travel, and pursuing his passions in outdoor recreation. He and his wife, Karin, are residents of Glenwood Springs, and will continue to call the community home.
“We have a home here and are close to friends and family,” Batchelder said. “It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the Garfield County community and the Board of County Commissioners. I could not have asked for a more rewarding end to a long public service career.”
Following graduate school, the Colorado native got his first taste of public service in Mendota Heights, MN, where he served for seven years as assistant city administrator, followed by five years as city administrator. He then took the role of town manager in Silverthorne, CO, for more than 13 years before joining Garfield County. Batchelder said he relished the opportunities to serve the public throughout his career.
“The role in Silverthorne was my homecoming back to Colorado in 2000,” he said. “I’ve worked in local government management for 33 years in three different communities, and I’m proud that I’ve left a legacy in all three locations.”
His professional successes include working with the residents of Mendota Heights to help realize a voter-approved bond that was used to build a parks and trails system in the community, and partnering with the Dakota County Housing Authority to create both senior housing and affordable housing. In Silverthorne, he worked to have the town pavilion built, as well as provided incentives to revitalize the factory outlet stores. Economic development efforts were successful in attracting Target, Lowe’s, and Murdoch’s, all of which greatly expanded the town’s tax base, and set the stage for downtown redevelopment. Constructing the Blue River Trail System was a major, multi-year project.
In Garfield County, Batchelder was an integral member of the team that successfully applied to locate the Center for Excellence for Advanced Technology Aerial Firefighting at the Rifle Garfield County Airport. He also worked to revamp the county’s capital project program, which has resulted in more efficient capital projects, better bidding and award processes, and updated infrastructure. Many county policies were updated under Batchelder’s time as county manager, including financial, safety, information technology, and motor pool policies, and the county’s employee handbook, all of which have resulted in increased efficiencies in administration. He utilized his budgeting experience to work with the BOCC, the management team, and other elected officials to ensure a balanced operating budget during a period of declining revenues.
“These internal programs have led to a strong and stable administrative organization,” he said. “We built a talented management team, which gets the day-to-day work done and strives to provide quality county services. I feel blessed to have worked with such strong leadership on our management team.”
Batchelder said he couldn’t image a more beautiful community to retire in. He added that working alongside the employees of Garfield County has made his time here very special.
“Most of all, I have developed a deep appreciation for the dedicated employees at Garfield County, who provide prompt and courteous service,” he said. “Our employees do their best every day to make this county operate in an efficient and friendly manner. Garfield County is well-served and is very fortunate to have such a great workforce.”
“I want to say thanks to Kevin for his service and congratulate him and wish him well in his retirement,” said Commissioner Tom Jankovsky. “His legacy is the staff he has hired to work in Garfield County and his ability to guide the direction of the county commissioners with the operations of the county. He’s been able to blend those abilities well, to the benefit of our community.”
“Kevin Batchelder has been a great county manager for Garfield County. When I think of Kevin, I think of a steady hand. I’ve seen him in many instances perform his duties in a very fair, honest, and equitable way,” added Commissioner Mike Samson. “It’s been my pleasure as a commissioner to work alongside him in trying to do what we felt was the best for the citizens of Garfield County. I wish him and his family the best in the future, and for him to know that he always has a place to visit if he wants to reminisce with old friends.”
“Kevin, prepare yourself for your new life. Karin has a lot for you to do,” said Commissioner John Martin. “Thank you for being our county manager.”