Human Services Director Lynn Renick retires from position helping Garfield County families

Law offers tax relief to senior citizen property owners

January 3, 2011

Families in Garfield County have always had high family values, helping them weather much change, says Lynn Renick, director of Garfield County Human Services. Renick is retiring January 4, after directing the county agency which oversees family interests locally for 16 years.

“When I came to Garfield County at the end of 1994, the county was mostly rural and western, and while family values haven’t changed, the environment for families is different now. There are more opportunities and resources for families than 16 years ago.

“But while some things are better now, other things aren’t. The economy 16 years ago was suffering a downturn, as it is today with the fluctuating oil and gas industry. But between the two times, the caseload was slower in the Human Services department,” Renick says. “In 2007, the number of public assistance households were half of what they are now. Now we have almost 6,000 families on some sort of public assistance with the current economic downturn locally and nationally.

Another change for Renick’s department was the relocation of senior service programs to being under the county’s direction. “It was a positive change for the county as well as the community, and the seniors here are great,” said Renick.

Asked what she would do if she had the potential to apply the use of unlimited funds to her department before retiring, Renick said she would build underfunded programs, such as those for at-risk adults.

“The great thing about this county is how local organizations have banded together to provide for families, individuals and adults. I hope that continues and know that as state budget cuts continue, that county organizations and non-profits will have to rely on each other much more. While preventive funds are always the first to go, early intervention is always the key to success.”

Renick worked for the Division of Family Services in Kansas City and St. Louis, as well as non-profit organizations, before coming to Garfield County, and is moving to Arizona with no definite other than retire and spend time with her family.

“One of the biggest accomplishments for the community I was glad to be a part of was the creation of the River Bridge Center (which provides hope and healing to neglected and abused children). Private and public sectors really came together to help these most vulnerable kids and families, not just with treatment, but with getting through a really tough time. Having the program receive national accreditation hopefully means it is here to stay, and it is such an important program for the community. I give much credit to our commissioners and county management, who saw that vision and helped build the facility.”

Renick is pleased with her successor, Mary Baydarian, the new Garfield County Human Services Director. “It is hard leaving such a great staff, they are really very dedicated, but it’s time for new energy and new projects it’s all in good hands.”