FIRESTONE — As Chad Auer nears the end of his final term as mayor, he doesn’t shy from talking about the big battle when he was first elected six years ago: the legal fight with Longmont over the town’s boundary.
“We stood up for Firestone’s best interests,” Auer said. “Obviously, the lawsuit with Longmont over annexation of the LifeBridge was the first battle when I was first elected, and we stood up to Longmont’s assertion that Firestone should be subservient to Longmont.”
Auer characterized this stand as part of Firestone’s larger regional conversation, positioning itself while also coordinating with its neighbors.
“When we were looking for solutions, we’d be looking for common ground, but also standing up for Firestone’s best interests,” Auer said. “I think a lot of people thought that you either had to stand up for Firestone or you had to engage in regional conversations, but my goal was to show that we could actually do both.”
Auer said Firestone’s outreach hasn’t been limited to the county or the state level.
“Firestone over the last six years, hasn’t just been engaged in the regional conversation but also internationally,” Auer said. “We have visited the China Energy Fund Committee. I was part of a trade mission to Canada to talk about trade between Colorado and our counterpart in Canada, which is Alberta. Alberta, Canada, is Colorado’s largest international trade partner.”
In this year’s election, all three candidates for mayor had previously served as trustees, but Auer took a different path. He served as a member of the Dacono City Council before becoming chairman of the Weld County Planning Commission directly before his election to mayor in Firestone.
When U.S. Congressman Cory Gardner decided to compete in this year’s election for the Senate, Auer briefly considered running for Gardner’s seat.
“There was some discussion, there was quite a bit of encouragement from folks for me to throw my hat into the ring for that congressional seat, but I’m not going to do that,” Auer said. “The seat I’m running for is the one next to Megan, my wife, at the bleachers at Mead High School because we’re going to be watching our kids play a lot of sports.”
Auer said down the road he’ll look at opportunities for political office if they surface.
“If folks want me to serve in an elected role, then I’ll take a look at that,” Auer said.
Professionally, Auer has devoted his career to educational leadership. He started as a substitute teacher and from there served in variety of educational settings including choice schools, online schools as well as traditional neighborhood schools.
Auer, a Colorado native, currently works at the Colorado Department of Education where he partners with school districts across the state as they implement major improvement initiatives.
Auer has advice for Firestone’s new mayor: don’t be afraid of difficult conversations.
“I would also say be prepared for to get a lot of… feedback!” Auer laughs. “I would say this: sometimes there will be people who offer a lot of positive encouragement, and that’s great. 90 percent of the people I’ve worked with have been very positive and encouraging. But then there’s 10 percent of people out there who will always be your detractors. My advice wouldn’t be to dismiss them. Take their feedback and negativity with a grain of salt, but at the same time, sometimes they have a good point.”
Auer said his level of leadership improved because he was willing to take that feedback.
During Auer’s time as mayor, the town was labeled as the fastest growing municipality in the state by the U.S. Census Bureau.
“I’m proud that Firestone has such a strong local economy, and it looks like it will continue to be that way,” Auer said. “I consider it a huge privilege and an honor to have been able to serve as mayor, and my family and I are very thankful for the support and the encouragement from just so many people. I look forward to Firestone continuing to be successful, and if there’s any way we can help, we’re happy to do that.”
Contact Ben Wiebesiek at 303-659-2522, ext. 205, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.