El Paso County commissioners
voted unanimously at 1 p.m. today to say they have no confidence in Sheriff Terry Maketa's
leadership and asking him to resign effective immediately.
Maketa said in a statement Tuesday he would not resign.
After a 95-minute executive session, Commission Chairman Dennis Hisey
read a statement in which he said that when an elected official allows his or her behavior to become a distraction to delivery of services to citizens, "it begs the question of what is best for the community."
Just before the vote was taken, Hisey said, "It is with a heavy heart I have determined it would be in the interest of citizens of El Paso County for the sheriff to resign."
Commissioner Amy Lathen
read from the sheriff's own policies governing his employee's behavior that their "personal behavior must be beyond reproach."
Statement on Sheriff Maketa.pdf
She said commissioners believe Maketa's activities, some of which were first reported by the Independent
four years ago and more recently by the Gazette
, have caused a disruption to the operation of the department that only his resignation can cure.
Other commissioners made similar statements.
Commissioner Darryl Glenn
said he spent two hours on Wednesday reading a stack of emails and text messages between Maketa and sheriff's comptroller Dorene Cardarelle
. "In my opinion, it does confirm there was an intimate and consensual relationship between the sheriff and an employee." He also noted there can be no expectation of privacy when using taxpayer-funded phones and computers, which is where the messages were found by IT.
Indeed, hundreds of messages between the two discuss how much they love each other, that they're married to the wrong people and that they want to be together. Maketa signed many of his messages xoxoxox
, the symbols for kisses and hugs. Some are quite explicit, describing their desire to make love.
Should Maketa resign, it's likely sheriff's candidate Bill Elder
would be chosen to step in. He is the only person running for sheriff, having defeated two Republican candidates at the Republican County Assembly in March. The procedure calls for county commissioners to appoint a successor when a county-wide elected official resigns, according to Republican Party executive director Danny Cole
The last time a sheriff resigned in El Paso County was in the 1980s, Cole says.