BLOOMFIELD — When it comes to his duties on the San Juan County Commission or his work for Bloomfield as mayor, Scott Eckstein is proud of his accomplishments and working a full schedule to make residents and businesses thrive despite the tough economy.
The former police sergeant can sum up his main agenda for 2013 in two words: economic development.
Eckstein began his work representing District 3 on the commission in January 2009.
Last week, officials in a unanimous vote appointed him Chairman of the commission.
Dr. James Henderson, who retired after two terms serving District 4, worked alongside Eckstein for four years and applauds his new responsibility.
"I always found him to be well-prepared and passionate about the county, its people, and his commitment to public service," Henderson said. "I'm sure he'll do a superb job."
Eckstein says there is no conflict between the jobs.
"Whether I am working on behalf of Bloomfield or the county, diversification is a top priority to drive the local economy," Eckstein said. "Whatever we can do to increase area jobs, we are working on bringing as many beneficial ideas to the table to drive growth and to save money wherever possible."
Eckstein views his elected roles as a lifelong calling to help people of the community by emphasizing job creation and fiscal responsibility.
"One of the keystones of my first county-commission campaign was standing against a law-enforcement project to move the police department's building in Aztec to a new location at Crouch Mesa. It was a poor use of funds when keeping the department in the county seat was important and other needs existed," Eckstein said.
His election in 2009 could be seen as an approval of his cost-saving stance that made available funds to build the brand new $6.2 million home for the district attorneys' offices. Renovation of the sheriff's office and the district courthouse were also covered with the diverted funds.
Spending in pre-recession years, Eckstein said, has meant surviving the economic downturn with programs and facilities that would not be possible in today's economic climate.
"During my first few years as mayor, we were in spending-mode, but the last five years has been one of self-preservation," he said. "Making the right investments at the right time is something I am proud we did with my leadership."
He counts building a water-treatment plant, expansion and renovation of the fire department and renovation and energy upgrades for 30-year-old City Hall, and securing the land for the industrial park among his accomplishments.
Also on his agenda is to continue to beautify the city to attract business and industry and secure more jobs for citizens.
In 2011, the mayor saw support for the city's trash-and-junk ordinance to ensure the community was accountable for its appearance. He and the city manager tried unsuccessfully last year to secure capital outlay funds for beautification of the city's major thoroughfare, Highway 64.
Those efforts have been renewed for this year's legislative session, which ends in March.
Eckstein begins his eighth year as Bloomfield mayor eager to put the multi-year Highway 64 road project in the completed column and make strides with the ongoing development of the 60-acre development of the San Juan River Walk and Wagner-Caterpillar's upcoming groundbreaking in the city's 25-acre industrial park.
But the official, known as much for his generosity to local nonprofits as for his signature colorful attire, likes representing the residents, a majority of whom have elected him five times in eight years.
"My job is 80 percent satisfying, getting to help people in as many ways as possible," he said. "Twenty percent, however, can be stressful."
Despite the stress, Eckstein likes the job serving Bloomfield and San Juan County.
"After 30 years in the area and spending the majority of my career to public service, I'm pretty much an open book," he said. "People know I'm accessible and willing to help."