Commissioner: Giving up private job for county commitment
January 28, 2011
Douglas County Commissioner Lee Bonner said Friday he resigned from GE Energy two weeks ago to devote more time to his elected position.
“I left GE two weeks ago to focus on the job of county commissioner,” he said. “It was a tough decision, but one where I could devote the time I feel is required right now. I will be focused on the Legislature and county issues for the coming months.”
Bonner said he worked for General Electric for nine years, most recently in global communications and public affairs. He relocated to Carson Valley from Atlanta in 2005.
“When you sit down and look at everything that is required of being a county commissioner, then with GE, it was a lot of stuff. I just wanted to be able to focus on what the people elected me to do,” he said.
Adding to his personal commitments, Bonner said, is his upcoming wedding.
“When you look at how much time you have and what’s important in life, your family is your most important thing,” he said.
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The new county commissioner admitted he won’t be getting wealthy from his annual salary of $26,672.78 a year.
“My heart is to help people, that’s what I want to do and why I ran for office,” he said.
Bonner said professional opportunities may be coming up in the next couple of months, but he declined to elaborate.
With two county commission meetings under his belt, Bonner said he was increasingly aware of the time commitment beyond twice-monthly board meetings.
Last week, for example, he spent a day at East Fork Fire & Paramedics Districts Station 15 and toured Valley water systems.
“There are not only the meetings, but a lot of time spent reading material. I want to be prepared to go in the meetings and make the best decisions,” he said.
The first meeting which involved appointment of new planning commissioners generated a lot of feedback – mostly negative – when former County Commissioner Don Miner was appointed along with Jeremy Davidson and Frank Godecke.
The new planning commissioners replaced Lawrence Howell, who narrowly lost to County Commissioner Nancy McDermid in November, Rick Ross and Bob Conner.
“It was one of my first decisions,” Bonner said. “I was kind of surprised it generated this many comments. I hope people look at what we do in the future and not base everything on the first meeting.”
Bonner said he responds to his constituents’ questions and emails.
“As politicians, we answer to the people. If somebody sends me an e-mail, or writes me a letter, they’re going to hear back from me,” Bonner said.