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Three-time commissioner proud of

legacy, impact on Eddy County

 

Glenn Collier

On a rainy Saturday afternoon in Artesia, Glenn Collier was found relaxing at his home. There were no meetings to prepare for. No ledgers, charts or diagrams to peruse, no budgets to pore over, and no constituents to please.

For a man who’s devoted the majority of his life to public service, relaxation is likely an unusual feeling. But it’s one that’s extraordinarily well-deserved.

Collier ended his record 12th year as a commissioner for Eddy County early this month, calling his departure from the Board of Commissioners “bittersweet.”

He first served the county for two consecutive terms from 1996-2004 and in 2012, made the decision to return to government. He was elected for a third four-year term that ended in December 2016 after a losing reelection bid against fellow Artesian Larry Wood.

And while Collier would have been pleased to spend the next four years continuing his passion of working for the people, he takes solace in the fact Artesia will continue to have two representatives on the commission.

“I want people to know that it was through their trust, respect, confidence and vote that I was able to do this,” Collier said. “You all know that ‘avoidance’ was and is not in my vocabulary.

“I am very happy that, finally, in the last election four years ago, Artesia was able to have two commissioners on board. Since I was first elected in 1996, it was only one. I am hopeful that this change will give Artesia a little more say so. Dealing with the government is never easy… getting projects done with all the red tape takes patience and perseverance. This is why I am forever thankful for the 12 years that allowed me to see many accomplishments and also many changes in the county.”

Collier began his journey in county government alongside commissioners Julius Doubrava, Lucky Briggs, Miranda Darcy, Shannon Jones, Nancy Brantley and the late Ray Camp. It was a group of individuals of which Collier is fiercely proud to have been a part, a commission of “doers” who saw a need and went single-mindedly to work on meeting it.

Three of the accomplishments of which he’s proudest are the renovation of the Eddy County Courthouse, the expansion of the Eddy County Detention Center, and the construction of a new juvenile detention center.

“We had juveniles accelerating by the 10s, 20s, so we purchased the land and erected the juvenile detention center,” Collier said. “We even went so far as to contract a teacher to go to the center and teach the kids.

“The courthouse was the first bond issue in the history of Eddy County, and it succeeded. We paid it off with money left over, and with that money, according to the population of each community, we reimbursed their portion of the bond issue instead of refunding it to the company.”

The commission also purchased the current Eddy County Administration Building and its full city block, allowing it to create parking for the veterans’ memorial on the corner of Greene and Canal streets in Carlsbad.

Collier gives pause when considering other commission accomplishments during his tenure, waving a good-natured hand and assuming people will be interested only in the highlights.

But the projects, from the immense to the seemingly minuscule, continue to quietly impact the communities in which they were completed – the ultimate goal for Collier and his colleagues, and yet one whose success is measured not in fanfare but how easily it slips into the fabric of their constituents’ everyday lives.

A short list, by no means complete, includes:

• Artesia Horse Council Arena improvements

• Equipment purchases for the Artesia Dental Clinic

• Addition to Artesia Head Start

• Eddy County Fairgrounds Community Building

• Construction of the Artesia Vocational Training Center

• Construction of Artesia’s new MVD office

• Addition of a helipad to Artesia General Hospital

• Construction of the Artesia MealSite

• Skate parks constructed in both Artesia and Carlsbad

• Establishment of the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Complex

• Establishment of the Eddy County Shooting Range

• Construction of the low-flow channel and crossings along Eagle Draw

• Repaving at Bulldog Bowl

• Improvements to the Sheriff’s Posse Arena in Carlsbad

• Water system improvements in Happy Valley, Otis and Riverside

• Construction of the Malaga Fire Station

• Improvements to the Otis Community Center and Park

• Establishment of the Migrant Outreach Resource Center

• Construction of a new Joel Fire Department main station

• Carlsbad’s Project Playground

• Construction of the Carlsbad Sports Complex

• Construction of a new City Hall in Loving

• Mexican Historic Cemetery improvements

• A new flagpole at the Eddy County Veterans’ Memorial

• Transfer stations in Hope and Queen

• Establishment of the Champion Cove Recreation Area at Brantley Lake

• Property acquisition on Main Street in Carlsbad for a jail

• Addition to the Sun Country Fire Station

• Construction of new fire substations in Cottonwood and Otis

• The South Loop road design outside Carlsbad

• Carlsbad’s downtown streetscape

• Construction of the Carlsbad High School soccer field

• Construction of a communications tower at C Hill

As he reflects on these and many other accomplishments, including his recent receipt of the New Mexico Association of Counties’ prestigious Glass Flame Award for contributions toward improving the quality of life for all citizens of New Mexico, Collier is ultimately satisfied with his service and eager to see how the next commission approaches its challenges.

“Please give your new commissioners your support and let them hear from you,” he said. “Get involved in projects, community activities, etc., to create a better place for you and your children.”

He’ll no doubt be watching carefully from the sidelines as a citizen of a city and a county he loves.

“My wife, Delia, has been by my side always, as she, too, has been involved in many community projects in Artesia,” Collier said. “We are both very grateful for this
“I can’t thank you enough for allowing us to be a part of your lives. It is now time for me and Delia to slow down and get to the ‘honey-dos.’ I want to leave you with this saying: ‘Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, latch on to the affirmative, and don’t mess with anything in between.’ God bless all of us.”