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La Plata County seeks surveyor

Nobody ran for position during November election, so commissioners must appoint someone
La Plata County Surveyor Steve McCormack is sworn in in 2017. McCormack hopes to retire from the position in January, but he may stay on for four more years if nobody else volunteers to take the position. (Durango Herald file)

La Plata County residents seeking to follow in the footsteps of George Washington have an opportunity to do so – at least as far as his pre-Revolutionary career as a land surveyor is concerned.

After nobody ran for the position of county surveyor, La Plata commissioners are seeking to appoint someone to the role. The term of current surveyor Steven McCormack ends Jan. 9.

McCormack held the position from 1986 to 1994 and then was reappointed to finish out his successor’s term in 1996. He was reappointed to the role by county commissioners in 2015 after the previous surveyor died. He won reelection in 2016 and 2018.

McCormack said he had intended to run in the 2022 election and announced his intention to do so to the southwest chapter of the Professional Land Surveyors of Colorado. However, he had changed his party affiliation from Republican to unaffiliated in the preceding year, meaning he needed to gather some 389 signatures to appear on the ballot. A sudden onset medical problem made that a significant barrier to his candidacy.

“I just didn't feel like I had the energy to do it,” McCormack said.

Having announced his intention to run, no one else filed for candidacy. By the time he realized he was unable to run, it was too late for anybody else to step up and fill the spot on the ballot.

“It was kind of just a bad series of coincidences that no one ran or no one was on the ballot,” he said.

The role is not a full-time position. McCormack estimated he spends four hours each week on county-related work and says he earns roughly $470 per month. The surveyor’s duties include representing the county in boundary disputes, notifying the county attorney of any unsettled boundary disputes or boundary discrepancies and other survey-related duties as directed by county commissioners.

County spokesman Ted Holteen said surveyor is the only role that the county has regularly had trouble filling, most likely because of the fact that it is not a full-time position.

While McCormack and his peers agree that the job is “a necessary position,” McCormack said nobody has expressed interest in the job. He said he may end up serving another four-year term if nobody else steps up.

Candidates for the role must be licensed surveyors in Colorado. Anyone interested should submit a letter of interest and a detailed resume to the county at countyadmin@co.laplata.co.us or in person at the administration building in Durango located at 1101 East Second Ave. Applications are due by 4:30 p.m. Jan. 2.

rschafir@durangoherald.com

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