Rime highlights long experience with community

Tuesday, March 1, 2011 5:22 PM

Cortez, a City in Recall, is a five-part series spotlighting four Cortez city councilors and the mayor whom opponents are seeking to oust through a May 3 recall election.

By Reid Wright

Journal Staff Writer

Robert Rime said he draws on background in education administration when making decisions on the Cortez City Council.

“I go into the meetings knowing what decisions are going to be made,” he said. “My decision making process is one that you gather as much information as you can and ask as many questions as you can, get as much timeline as you can, to make a good decision and look at the benefit of the total population.”

Rime said he worked as a school superintendant for 11 years and worked with school boards for 18.

“You’re going to please some of the people some of the time, but you’re not going to please all of the people all of the time,” he said. “So you make decisions that you think are the best for everybody.”

Rime is one of five incumbents on the ballot for potential recall in the city’s first recall election on record.

“When I think of a recall, I think of corruption and graft and people on the take under the table,” he said. “County commissioners just voted to put in an AT&T tower, and there were over 60 people who signed a letter or a petition against it. Well, do we recall the commission because they decided to put up this tower? Or take the school board — they’re going to make an $85 million decision on facilities. And if some people don’t like the decision that they’re going to have to make, do they recall them?”

Proponents of the recall cite what they see as overuse of emergency ordinances, lack of responsiveness to residents’ concerns and misuse of tax money as reasons for the recall.

Recall proponents have rallied around the city’s involvement in the Flaugh-Clark subdivision, which is estimated to cost the city $325,000 for the construction of street and infrastructure — an expense typically left up to a private developer.

Rime said he voted in favor of the project in 2008 because the project had already been set in motion by a previous administration.

“We’re just kind of at the tail end of carrying out processes that were already in place,” he said. “In trying to do it in the most reasonable and most prudent manner possible, you have to gather what was done in the past and then move forward in respect to what is best for the city as a whole.”

Rime also voted for approval of the final plat on the project in 2010.

If Rime remains on the council, he said he would like to continue expansion of the city’s fiber optic network and continue on the current heading.

“I think we’ve got the city headed in a positive direction,” he said. “I know it’s kind of difficult when there’s a downturn in the economy.”

But a downturn does not mean a city council should stop spending money, he said.

“It means you plan for those types of expenditures. I think back to things like the solar panels on the (recreation center). Yeah, it’s an investment that’s going to take a while to pay off, but hopefully you just figure out how long it’s going to take and then you go from there.”

Rime included the city’s recently completed micro-hydroelectric plant and electric vehicles in the category of long-term investments.

“It’s an investment for future councils and for our kids,” he said. “In the long haul, when you look down the road, it’s going to be a good investment.”

Rime also supports the city’s fiber optic network, which is currently being expanded to Main Street businesses and may eventually extend to Cortez residences.

“I see that if we could get the fiber out to the homes, it would be a real attraction for some economic growth,” he said.

For example, Rime said a radiologist may be able to work from home and send X-rays through the fiber optic network to health care providers. Or a patient might be able to stay at home and be monitored remotely through the network.

Rime said he served for 18 years on school boards, is a former member of The Pinon Project board, is currently a member of the Character Counts board, is a former chamber of commerce member, is an officer of the Cortez Men’s Association and is on the deacon board at his church. Rime also works as the division education director for the Ute Mountain Ute tribe.

Rime encourages those who think the city is headed in the right direction to get out and vote.

The recall election is set for May 3.

Reach Reid Wright at