Murdock rolling up his sleeves

PINEDALE – After election results were verified Wednesday, newly elected Pinedale Mayor Matt Murdock had already began even though he won’t officially be sworn in until June 1.

“First thing – I reached out to new and existing council members to make sure we’re communicating,” Murdock said. “I want things discussed directly and not argued at the meetings.”

Murdock said other council members Tyler Swafford and Jim Brost, who both also ran for mayor, were perplexed at the recent forum as the council candidates repeatedly called for “civility” on the council.

“We looked at each other and wondered. For the most part we’re very civil when discussing issues,” Murdock said.

“We can discuss the issue, not attack the person,” Murdock said. “I want people talking to each other, not about each other.”

Once the discussion is done, “We vote our conscience,” he said.

Another task before even taking the office

is Murdock’s plan to meet with individual staff members. “I want to make sure we have enough staff,” Murdock said. He said a few “tweaks” may be made and then he’ll take a wait-and-see approach to determine if they work.

Budgets, which will be considered on first reading at the May 14 meeting before the new mayor and council is sworn in, will be a priority. “We need to get the two new council members up to speed,” Murdock said.

On second and third readings, how much will be spent on contract services and funding for the critical access hospital and broadband will be determined, he said.

Murdock said he will be accessible to the public with a published phone number and in June he will start hosting “Mugs with the Mayor,” a time when anyone can talk with him on any issues.

I want to make sure we can talk with each other,” Murdock said. “We may disagree on an issue and still be polite.”

He added, he wants to see less communication on social media, which can result in misinterpretation and can get out of hand quickly.

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