Jack Hilbert, a commissioner in Douglas County since 2006, served at his last meeting for the county on July 8.
Hilbert, who is leaving his post as Douglas County commissioner earlier than planned — having accepted a job as the Child Welfare Hotline System manager with the Colorado Department of Human Services' Child Welfare Protection Division — was granted the chairmanship for his last commissioners meeting.
Before hitting the gavel to bring an end to his tenure as a county commissioner, his fellow commissioners Roger Partridge, the board chair, and Jill Repella took turns in sharing memories of their time together.
“In the year-and-a half I've spent with you, I just want to say that you have been a real leader and a real mentor,” Partridge said. “There's never a dull moment. You really have touched the hearts of everyone.”
Repella, who was recently chosen to run alongside Bob Beauprez as the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, said Hilbert took her under his wing and “saw someone who really cared about the community who needed a little guidance, through the complex political maze that we have to maneuver though.”
“Jack and I have always had an unspoken trust,” Repella said. “I've always felt comfortable working with someone who I knew always had my back, and I always had his back and we would fight for each other, because we had this innate, common purpose in life. We do things for our community and we do things for other people.
“Sometimes it's hard for people to understand why we're like that, sometimes I'm not even sure why I'm like that, it is just part of who we are, it's in our blood. … I told Jack one time I trust him with my life and I still believe that.”
Hilbert began to tear up when his fellow commissioners presented him with a plaque.
The plaque read:
“More than three thousand years ago a man named Job complained to God about all his troubles and the Bible tells us that God answered. Do you give the horse its strength or clothe its neck with a flowing mane? Do you make him leap like a locust, striking terror with his proud snorting? He paused fiercely, rejoicing in his strength and charges into the fray. He laughs at fear, afraid of nothing; He does not shy away from the sword. The quiver rattles against his side, along with the flashing spear and lance. In frenzied excitement he eats up the ground. He cannot stand still when the trumpet sounds.”
“You don't know what that is to me,” Hilbert said. “It's one of my mottos and I had no idea that they were going to capture it like this. Thank you so much.
“That's the motto at the bottom of my email. For those of us in government, I just think it's something we have to do. It's courage, what it amounts to. It's the definition of courage, and you have to show that. This will be hanging up in my new office. I really, really appreciate this.”
The process to replace Hilbert in the interim began July 13 — his last official day in office. The Douglas County Republican Party has 10 days to appoint an interim replacement to serve the remaining six months of Hilbert's term.
According to Craig Steiner, chairman of the Douglas County GOP, the interim commissioner will be elected by a vote of the party's Central Committee. A 50 percent majority is needed to win. The winner of the June 24 Republican primary, David Weaver — who is currently running unopposed for the vacated seat in November — will likely have the inside track for the interim position, Steiner said.
Hilbert also withdrew from the race for Colorado House District 44 when he accepted his job with the state. The HD-44 GOP vacancy committee is close to making a decision on who will replace Hilbert, the primary victor, as the Republican candidate in November.
The new candidate will face Democrat Karen Smith and Libertarian Lily Williams in the Nov. 4 general election.