Montezuma County Commission Chair Larry Don Suckla was named Commissioner of the Year at the annual meeting of Colorado Counties Incorporated last week in Colorado Springs.
Suckla tells KSJD he did not know of the award ahead of time and “about had a heart attack” when his name was announced. In a release, CCI said, “Suckla saved his rural county millions of dollars through improved management practices and effective land use policies.” When presenting the award, Rose Pugliese of Mesa County, a co-winner of last year’s award, said Suckla “exhibited superb leadership skills and a keen understanding of the issues facing counties in Colorado.” Suckla tells KSJD he believes he received the award because of his work advocating for continued funding for two key sources of money for Western rural counties. Several months ago, he was sent by CCI to Washington, D.C., to meet with members of Congress to seek funding for the Payment in Lieu of Taxes, or PILT, program as well as the Secure Rural Schools program. He says his efforts to save Montezuma County money are shared with the other two commissioners and he cannot take all the credit for that. Suckla says he was “very humbled” by the award, adding, “It’s quite an honor to have that recognition.”