Talon News - Good Local News



December 28, 2018



Photo and story by Pilar Owens, TALON

Fourteen years ago, Kim Carpenter planned to move from Farmington to Santa Fe for an education job. He had to break the news to his parents. "I saw the heart break in their faces when I told them that we were going to have to take the grandkids and move," recalled Carpenter. He decided to try a career change so he and his family could stay in the area.

"I have an interesting background," said Carpenter, who listed a bachelor's in business management, a master's in human performance, a doctorate in education, and a management development program completed at Harvard as his educational achievements.

Starting in 1988 he spent 17 years working in various positions in higher education--college athletics, professor, administrator. He feels each of his jobs have enriched him.

When Carpenter made the decision to change his career, government seemed natural because his dad had spent 32 years in politics. Initially Carpenter applied for the county's deputy human resources position. However, the interviewer found him to be overqualified for the position.

"The next thing you know I got a call and asked if I want to be the deputy county manager, and, here we are."

Now almost 14 years later, Carpenter is retiring from the county. He spent six years as the deputy county manager, and is currently the county executive officer (CEO). During his time as CEO, Carpenter's been part of a number of significant moments. These include receiving 10 Achievement Awards from the National Association of Counties, surviving five states of emergency and a budget cut. "One of my proudest moments as CEO is that we haven't had to lay anybody off. We've not had a cut in services, but we've had a significant reduction in financial budgets."

Retiring County CEO Kim Carpenter -

On instinct, and after considering his options, Carpenter decided to retire from the county, "I felt I've taken the county as far as I can take it. It's been a tireless, endless, challenge, with everything I've endured."

Carpenter's going to miss the people he worked with and the citizens of San Juan County; they've made his job easier and worthwhile.

After his son finishes high school, Carpenter plans to go back to work and relocate to Arizona. But, "(San Juan County) will always be home...No where can you find better weather; no where can you find more energy and commitment from people."

He praised the county commissioners for making the transition in leadership smooth, which was his primary concern when he decided to retire. He also praised incoming CEO Mike Stark. "I know Mike will do a good job." "And I think people should be comfortable to know that the county's in good hands, it really is," added Carpenter.


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