“I believe I have honored my campaign promise that I would devote full-time effort and leave Park County government more efficient and financially stronger than when I began,” Grosskopf said in a statement. The Cody Republican and current chairman of the commission said he’s proud of his work, but “it is time to allow someone else to bring different ideas, energy and perspective to the board.”
Now 69 years old, “As you get closer to 70 ... you start thinking about, OK, how many productive years do you have left in your life and ... you want to do all these things,” Grosskopf said in an interview. “My bucket list is still pretty long.”
Still, he said the decision did not come lightly.
“I enjoy the job so much ... I probably changed my mind a dozen times in the last month,” Grosskopf said.
His decision means there will be at least two new faces on the commission starting in 2019; longtime Republican Commissioner Tim French of rural Powell announced last week that he would not be seeking another term, either.
Three seats are up for election this year: those held by Grosskopf, French and Commissioner Joe Tilden. Tilden, a South Fork Republican, is seeking re-election to a third term in office.
A few other local Republicans have already announced runs for the board: Dossie Overfield of Cody, Lloyd Thiel of Clark and Heart Mountain resident Pat Stuart.
The official filing period for those and other partisan offices opens on Thursday, May 17 and runs through Friday, June 1.
“There’s no doubt that someone will come along and they’ll take my place,” Grosskopf said. He said the county government is well-positioned for the future.
Grosskopf believes the county made it through the “really difficult” tighter budgets of recent years that required going without raises and, in some cases, new equipment.
“They’ve stuck it out and we’ve learned to be more efficient, I think,” he said, adding the county’s staff makes the commissioners “look good.”
A certified public accountant by trade, Grosskopf brought an eye for financial detail to the board when he was elected in 2010. He won re-election to a second term in 2014.
Grosskopf has been heavily involved in discussions about public land use and has represented Park County interests at the state and national levels; he holds leadership positions with the Wyoming County Commissioners Association, the National Association of Counties and on the Yellowstone Ecosystem Subcommittee of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee, which played a role in last year’s delisting of the species.
He said the relationships he’s made with various local, federal and state officials over the years “have made me a better person and a much more effective commissioner.”
Grosskopf described himself as humbled by the support and trust he’s received over the past seven-and-a-half years and said he felt that — with the county’s staff and fellow commissioners — he helped keep Park County and Wyoming a great place.
“I may be leaving Park County government, but I’m not leaving Park County,” he added.
Grosskopf had been “semi-retired” at the time he joined the commission, but says the commission has been a full-time job. Grosskopf said he’s looking forward to “real retirement” next year — focusing on his wife and family, traveling, continued work with community organizations and recreating in the outdoors.
“It’s filled up my days, there’s no doubt about that,” Grosskopf said of his time as a commissioner. “But it’s very rewarding.”