County restructures, creates new department

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As part of an effort to better address quality of life issues for its residents, Adams County has established a Neighborhood Services Department and hired an area native to lead it.

Raymond Gonzales of Westminster serves as the director of the new department, which incorporates the Animal Shelter & Adoption Center, Building Inspection, Code Compliance, Community Development and the Stormwater Utility program.

“With a commitment to better serve our residents, we will be focusing on streamlining county services, expanding community outreach, and enhancing citizen engagement opportunities so we can understand how best to support the needs of the neighborhoods,” said Ruth Kedzior, assistant county administrator.

Kedzior said the restructure was accomplished without additional expenditures outside of Gonzales’ annual salary of $117,500.

Gonzales was born and raised in Brighton and received his bachelor’s degree in accounting from Regis University-School of Management in Denver. He said the commissioner’s decision to create the department demonstrates their visionary approach to better serve the residents in the county.

Some of Gonzales goals are to make the county more approachable for residents, to spread the word about the good work it is doing and to hold town hall meetings to build community engagement.

“One of my priorities for the Neighborhood Services Department is to become a high performing organization in the county focused on a customer-centric culture that embraces high quality customer service,” he said.

All of this is part of ongoing efforts to mend relationships with residents after several news-making scandals involving county officials and employees.

“I think the county has taken significant strides in overcoming those issues and making the necessary changes to earn the trust and respect of the Adams County community and that’s one of the reasons I joined the county, because I want to be part of that change,” he said.

It is not common for counties to have a department similar to Neighborhood Services, Gonzales said, “however, I do believe we’ll be trendsetters and in six to 12 months we’ll be looked at as a model for other counties.”

There are more than 90,000 residents who live in unincorporated Adams County and more than 350,000 residents who live in the incorporated part of the county.

Before his new position with the county, Gonzales was the vice president of business and economic development for SOS Employment Group. Before that, he served as assistant city manager for Brighton and as the director of the Brighton Economic Development Corporation.