Steamboat Springs Routt County Commissioner Doug Monger resigned Monday from the Emerald Mountain Partnership board of directors.
The resignation came after Monger realized his membership on the board was a public distraction in the land exchange process that the Bureau of Land Management is considering.
The Routt County Board of County Commissioners should be unbiased when looking out for the best interests of the county, Monger said in his letter of resignation.
"I find it critical that I place myself in a position to more fairly judge the exchange and its consequences to all of Routt County," he wrote.
The Emerald Mountain Partnership Board of Directors has nine members, two selected by the county, two selected by the city and five at large who are appointed by the other four. The partnership was formed to conserve and manage the natural resources of Emerald Mountain and its surrounding area.
The land trade is part of a proposed three-way transaction in which the State Land Board would sell the 6,345-acre Emerald Mountain to the BLM for the money generated from the sale of scattered pieces of BLM land totaling 14,800 acres to private owners.
Monger was clear that his resignation had nothing to do with an accusation in a Steamboat Pilot & Today letter to the editor last month suggesting he has a conflict of interest with the land proposal.
His letter said that his partial ownership in the Monger Family Partnership did not affect discussions about parcels selected for the program because the parcel his family partnership owns was not submitted by the BLM.
"I commit to you that if the Monger Family Partnership had been contacted to be a participant in the land exchange I would have lobbied the family to be a part of the exchange and would have stepped down in the discussion of our BLM parcel," he wrote.
Monger wrote that he is encouraging the county to advertise for a replacement for his position immediately. The replacement does not need to be a county commissioner or employee.
Monger said he hopes the candidate would represent rural Routt County and would have a background in or knowledge of agriculture.