Some tough shoes to fill

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By Ralph Damiani

Los Alamos will lose more than its county administrator at the end of the year. It will lose a steady hand that has taken the county through some tough times.

Since Max Baker took over the county in December 2004, the difference in how things are done has been more than noticeable.

For those who were here during that crazy year of 2004, you remember the fighting that went on between council and administration and the ugly exchanges which eventually led to the messy resignation of the administrator.

That situation was quickly turned around and Baker got things running smoothly again. And in the ensuing years it has remained calm.

Now, he is leaving. But he is leaving a county untarnished by controversy. Now, don’t get us wrong, we have not agreed with everything his administration has done.

But it has generally followed the directions of council and has done that faithfully. That is Baker’s job. He is not the policy-setter, he is the one who carries the policies out.

And this he has done admirably.

His work has been done openly, with integrity and with care. You might disagree with him, but you should never doubt this honesty.

Even his resignation is an example of that. While his employment agreement only requires a 60-day notice, he provided the council with a written notice of intent to retire months ahead of time, giving the council ample time to find a good replacement.

Let’s hope they keep their eye on that ball!

His last day at work will be sometime in the November-December timeframe. This again keeps his word when he stated he would stay on the job for five years.

Baker has a long and honorable record of service to this county. He has demonstrated a willingness to listen, to communicate, to deal in the open and to be accessible that is rare in today’s governmental world.

He will be missed by all of us.