I just finished my review of the final draft for the AAR. I provided three separate items for clarification and returned it to Chief Harmon Monday morning. He is expecting my requested amendments to be completed by tomorrow and then add in the supporting documentation which will not be a major task. The Investigation of the BBF is nearly complete and being prepared for presentation to the District Attorney. In addition to the DA review I am under the impression a third party "peer review" is being conducted and I am not sure exactly where that process is. The bottom line is we are very close to that investigation being completed and nearing public review; I just do not have a date.If you were one of those people who were affected by the fire, the county is urging you to take this survey about your experience navigating the insurance claims process and the status of your recovery. The information will be used to help those affected.
El Paso County is hosting the Black Forest Community Picnic from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., on Wednesday, June 11, at Black Forest Regional Park. The picnic marks the one-year anniversary of the Black Forest Fire.
Commissioner Darryl Glenn said, “This is a great opportunity for the Black Forest community to gather, remember and reflect on the challenges over the past year. We’ve made significant strides in the rebuilding process but there’s more work that needs to be done. Now it’s time for our community to come together and reconnect with volunteers, friends and loved ones.
The picnic includes live music from the J. Miller Band, a Home Depot Kids’ Project, a special Thank You from El Paso County and the Commissioners’ Ice Cream Social (free while supplies last) with Rizuto’s Ice Cream, featuring a new Black Forest flavor just for the picnic. There will also be booths with information on rebuilding and recovery efforts as well as short tours hosted by Parks staff showing mitigation and recovery efforts around the park.
Three food trucks will be on site, Za’s Pizza, Fire House BBQ and Merken Chilean Style Sandwiches. If attendees do not want to purchase food and drinks, it is perfectly fine to bring a picnic basket.
The Community Picnic is sponsored by FedEx, which is the ‘Partner in the Park’ for Black Forest Regional Park.
Lawn chairs, blankets, picnic games and other items are welcome. The Playground is open again, thanks to Pikes Peak Community Foundation and student volunteers from Pine Creek High School, The Classical Academy and Ashton Ruff’s Eagle Scout Project.
Alcohol is not allowed in the Park.
Leashed pets are allowed, but Park staff asks that attendees to pick up after their pets.
The El Paso County Clerk and Recorder’s Office has mailed 214,133 ballots to voters for the 2014 Primary Election being held on June 24. In accordance with Colorado law, the ballots were mailed only to voters affiliated with one of the three major political parties— American Constitution, Democratic, or Republican Party.
All eligible affiliated voters will be mailed a Primary Election is an all-mail ballot election and the Clerk’s Office has worked hard to give voters many convenient options to return their ballot. Voters are urged to return their ballot early by mail, drop-off box, or at a Voter Service and Polling Center (VSPC). If a voter chooses they may return their ballot by mail ($0.70 is likely adequate postage), but it is not suggested that a voter attempt to return a ballot by mail after Thursday, June 19. A full list of 24/7 ballot drop-off boxes and VSPCs can be found below.
All ballots must be received (not postmarked) by 7:00 PM on June 24.
“We’re excited to be offering such a large number of customer-friendly options for voters to return their ballots in this and all future elections,” said Clerk and Recorder Wayne Williams. “We worked hard to ensure that the vast majority of people were within a short drive of one of our drop-off locations. I am happy to report that 93% of all voters are within ten minutes of one of our eleven 24/7 drop-off boxes. We are extremely appreciative of the cooperation of the various leaders that made it possible for us to establish these eleven permanent locations; namely Manitou Springs Mayor Marc Snyder, Fountain Mayor Gabriel Ortega, Monument Mayors Travis Easton and Rafael Dominguez, Falcon Fire Chief Trent Harwig, and the Pikes Peak Library District.”
The eleven 24/7 ballot drop-off locations are as follows:
1. Main Clerk’s Office at the Citizens Service Center, 1675 West Garden of the Gods Rd, Colorado Springs, CO 80907 (drive-up)
2. Downtown Centennial Hall Clerk’s Office, 200 South Cascade Ave, Colorado Springs, CO 80903
3. Southeast Powers Clerk’s Office, 5650 Industrial Pl, Colorado Springs, CO 80916
4. North Union Town Center Clerk’s Office, 8830 N. Union Blvd, Colorado Springs, CO 80920
5. East Library, 5550 N. Union Blvd, Colorado Springs, CO 80918 (drive-up)
6. Charles C. “Chuck” Brown Transportation Complex, 3275 Akers Dr, Colorado Springs, CO 80922
7. Department of Transportation Substation, 1010 Golden St, Calhan, CO 80808
8. Falcon Fire Department, 7030 Old Meridian Rd, Falcon, CO 80831 (drive-up)
9. Fountain Police Department, 222 North Santa Fe Ave, Fountain, CO 80817
10. City of Manitou Springs, 606 Manitou Ave, Manitou Springs, CO 80829
11. Town of Monument, 645 Beacon Lite Rd, Monument, CO 80132
Aside from the 24/7 drop-boxes, there will be four Voter Service and Polling Centers (VSPCs) available for the Primary. These VSPCs will be able to accommodate changes in voter registration for unaffiliated voters wishing to participate in the Primary, supplying replacement ballots for any voter that needs one, and assisting with other voting related situations. The following locations will be open as VSPCs for the respective dates and times:
Main Office at the Citizens Service Center
1675 West Garden of the Gods Rd, Suite 2202
Colorado Springs, CO 80907
Open June 2-June 24; Monday – Friday 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM; Saturday, June 21, 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM; Election Day 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM
Downtown Centennial Hall Office
200 South Cascade Ave
Colorado Springs, CO 80903
Open June 16-June 24; Monday – Friday 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM; Saturday, June 21, 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM; Election Day 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM
Southeast Powers Office
5650 Industrial Pl
Colorado Springs, CO 80916
Open June 16-June 24; Monday – Friday 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM; Saturday, June 21, 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM; Election Day 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM
North Union Town Center Office
8830 N. Union Blvd
Colorado Springs, CO 80920
Open June 16-June 24; Monday – Friday 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM; Saturday, June 21, 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM; Election Day 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM
Mr. Jensen is incorrect. I did not receive a phone call from the Sheriff at the time Ms. Cardarelle was injured while skiing, or anytime thereafter seeking my advice on obfuscating his presence. It follows that I did not so advise him. I also at no time was "offered the position of Undersheriff."Teri Goodall also sent us some information, as follows:
Regarding the request for County Attorney's "recusal." I reiterate that on May 13, 2014 the Board directed that all matters of representation of the County be handled by outside counsel. The law firm of Sherman and Howard was immediately retained for this purpose. Sherman and Howard has further contacted an independent investigator employed by Mountain States Employer's Council. Sherman and Howard, and not the County Attorney's Office, will be directing the independent investigation. By design created before the request for "recusal," the role of the County Attorney's office will be severely limited at best.
As is customary in most independent employment investigations, neither the County Attorney assigned as the point of contact for this matter (usually our employment attorney, Diana May,) nor the BoCC, nor staff will be privy to interviews, statements or conclusions until such time as the investigation is concluded.
You are correct, I was his agent for his 2010 campaign and did that job willingly. I saw Terry changing in different ways over the last 4-5 years. My watershed moment when Terry was no longer my friend, was when he told me he "had" to endorse John Anderson. I knew Terry disliked Anderson immensely. When I questioned him why he was doing this, he told me he offered Jim Reid a "deal" for his endorsement, but Jim would not commit. Terry said he offered Anderson the deal and Anderson took it. Reliable sources told me that one of the conditions of the deal involved Terry contracting with the Sheriff's Office after his term was up. I believe it is highly unethical to give a conditional political endorsement which allows you to benefit financially in the future. Anderson publicly stated there never was any deal, but those were Terry's words to me. One of them wasn't being truthful.On that note, it's odd Anderson would cut a deal with Maketa after Anderson didn't endorse Maketa in the 2010 election, but chose Todd Evans instead. Evans is now Fountain police chief who hired Bill Elder under a contract as deputy chief in Fountain. Elder is the presumed next sheriff, having defeated Reid and Anderson at the county assembly.
I have a working relationship with Sheriff Maketa. I believe he supported me in both of my general elections, and I have supported him as Sheriff in at least two of his election cycles.Here's Jensen's letter:
I have never traveled with him. I have consumed food with him seated at the table only in conference settings with numerous staff and other elected officials included; i.e. awards banquets or budget conferences - two of those, I believe. I do believe Vicki was there for one of those events. I may have eaten a muffin next to him at a county assembly over the years. I have not associated with him socially outside of political or work events.
I have the same working relationship with Sheriff Maketa as I do with Clerk and Recorder [Wayne] Williams or Treasurer Bob Balink or Commissioners [Darryl] Glenn, [Dennis] Hisey, Littleton or Clark, or any other of our elected officials, several of whom I've supported over the years in various elections and vice versa. Several of those folks have also supported or been supported by Sheriff Maketa.
There is absolutely zero conflict of interest or appearance of bias. In addition, commissioners will not be performing any aspect of any investigation and therefore there is no opportunity for anything to be "tainted" as you put it.
We supported you because we believed you were the best person to lead the sheriff's office. Your hard work and leadership was an inspiration to us, your staff, the entire office and the citizens of El Paso County.Not only did both donate money to Maketa's campaigns, but Goodall was the Maketa campaign's registered agent in 2010, after the Independent reported on his questionable activities. In this role, she filed campaign finance reports. She was an insider, in other words.
How did you get to where you find yourself today?
Somewhere along this almost 12-year journey you lost sight of the oath you swore to uphold. You arbitrarily exempted yourself from policy. Rules that applied to all personnel no longer applied to you.
Your time as sheriff has run its course.
Many inquiries have been made to the Sheriff's Office asking for public comment from Sheriff Terry Maketa concerning statements made by one of the County Commissioners at this morning's Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) meeting.Meantime, KOAA-TV is reporting that attorney Erin Jensen spoke to commissioners saying his client submitted a complaint about the sheriff to Commissioner Sallie Clark in 2010, the same year the Independent reported Maketa's involvement with two female employees, and other matters.
As each of you know, there is pending litigation and there are ongoing investigations involving El Paso County, the Sheriff's Office and individual deputies.
Sheriff Terry Maketa will not be commenting on the litigation, the allegations or the investigations. Sheriff Maketa is committed to a fair and impartial investigation based on facts and law and asks all responsible parties to respect the legal process.
Sheriff Maketa was duly elected by the citizens of El Paso County and has seven months remaining in his term. His intention is to complete the term to which he has been elected.
All members of the El Paso County Sheriff's Office, both sworn and civilian are committed to serving and protecting the citizens of this county. All will continue to perform their duties and serve with the utmost professionalism and level of care the citizens of El Paso County deserve.
The Board of El Paso County Commissioners has directed the County Attorney’s Office to coordinate an independent review and investigation into employment complaints at the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office.
The law firm of Sherman and Howard, which has extensive expertise in employment law, was retained earlier this week to assist with the review and investigation in conjunction with preparations to represent the County and the Sheriff's Office in any possible future litigation, and to protect the rights of the employees involved.
Today, the Board further directed the County Attorney’s Office to retain separate outside legal counsel to act as counsel for the Sheriff’s Office. “We want everyone to understand that the Commissioners are extremely concerned about these allegations and are committed to a thorough and independent investigation of these complaints in full compliance with all applicable laws,” said Commissioner Amy Lathen. “While we find it troubling to allocate taxpayer resources for these investigations and possible litigation, we recognize the need to find the truth for all people involved and are obligated under state law to defend the county and its elected officials. We will expedite all matters related to this investigation as quickly as possible,” Lathen concluded.
While the Board of County Commissioners was aware of media reports, rumors and innuendo related to the Sheriff’s office several years ago, a letter received May 12, 2014, was the first such complaint brought to the attention of County administration by a county employee and pursuant to county policies. Commissioners conferred with the County Attorney the next day, May 13, 2014, and the Sheriff was sent written notification on May 16 of the Board’s decision to retain outside counsel to conduct an independent investigation.
The Office of the Sheriff is an independent statutory county office under Colorado law. The Board of County Commissioners has no authority to remove any sitting elected official. The Board of County Commissioners has statutory responsibility for financial oversight of all County offices. The Board does not manage the Sheriff's Office budget directly, but the budget is audited annually by the Board. If the Office of the Sheriff becomes vacant for any reason, the Board of County Commissioners has statutory authority to make an appointment to fill the vacancy.
The El Paso County Employee Manual establishes a process for employees to bring workforce complaints to their supervisors or directly to the county's division of Employee Benefits and Medical Services. The Office of the County Attorney has also historically accepted employment related complaints.This statement was released by the sheriff, according to local news outlets:
While the Board of County Commissioners and County Administration is aware of rumors and speculation in print media reports several years ago, there were no related workforce complaints received. Absent any such complaints, the Board believed that it would be irresponsible to use public resources to take action based solely on gossip, rumors and innuendo.
A workforce complaint was received by County Administration on May 12, 2014. The Board scheduled a conference with the County Attorney the next day and the Sheriff was formally notified in a letter (attached) from the entire board, delivered on May 16, 2014 that an independent employment and personnel investigation would be launched immediately to determine if there is any veracity to these complaints. The law firm of Sherman and Howard has been retained by the Board of County Commissioners to offer additional legal expertise.
The Office of the Sheriff is an independent county office under state statutes. The Board of County Commissioners has statutory responsibility for the oversight of all county budget and financial operations.
A routine annual county audit is currently in progress. It should be noted that at least a month before any of these complaints were received the Sheriff had requested an additional "transition" audit be conducted into the financial operations of his Office as soon as possible to assure an orderly transition for the incoming Sheriff.
At this time, upon the advice of legal counsel, Sheriff Terry Maketa has no comment. An independent outside investigator is conducting the investigation and the Sheriff plans to fully cooperate in every way, both legally and with the investigation. Once the investigation is completed, then any comments or statements will be forthcoming.
As part of the economic stimulus package passed in 2009, Congress temporarily boosted Food Assistance benefits to help needy families get through the recession. That temporary increase expired the end of October 2013, and benefits were cut by about 5 percent.Food stamp cases are escalating:
Here you can see household size and amount of monthly reduction
Also, as the COLA raises the gross income limits every October, more households qualify, but may qualify for a small benefit amount due to their income being close to the income limit. Also as the economy is slowly improving, households income is increasing and reducing their benefit amounts.
There is no relationship between the size of our caseloads and the amount of benefits that clients get. The amounts are based on household size and income as calculated per Federal Food Assistance regulations.
The El Paso County Commissioners today voted to keep Commissioner Dennis Hisey as the board chair, Commissioner Amy Lathen as vice chair and Commissioner Sallie Clark as third chair.
The trio has long been in leadership positions, effectively blocking out Commissioners Darryl Glenn and Peggy Littleton. Glenn objected to the move.
"We're moving in the right direction as far as — I look at how well we work together as a board compared to some other governmental entities, and even when we disagree I think we're very respectful when we do that," he said. "Unfortunately, I'm going to disagree with this. There are some critical issues that I believe are coming forward and I think it's important to make some changes."
He said that as a veteran, he thought he could provide leadership on military issues. Glenn also noted that he's a former City Councilor, and said he felt he could help improve relations with that body.
Littleton also objected to the arrangement. She said she believed that it was important that "others be able to rise to leadership positions." She noted that leaders get to know staff, and she said that allowing junior members to serve in leadership position assured smooth transitions in future years.
The board voted 3-2 to keep the current leadership.
El Paso County, CO, December 17, 2013 – El Paso County administrative offices, elected administrative offices and county affiliated agencies (except the Office of District Attorney and El Paso County Combined Courts) will close at 3 p.m. Monday, Dec. 23, 2013, and remain closed through Wednesday, Dec. 25, for the Christmas holiday.
The 4th Judicial District Attorney and El Paso County Combined Courts will be open regular hours Monday, Dec. 23, and Tuesday, Dec. 24; closing only Dec. 25 for the Christmas holiday.
All County administrative and elected administrative offices, including 4-th Judicial District Attorney and Combined Courts will be closed, New Years’ Day, Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014.
County affiliated agencies with this schedule include; El Paso County Public Health, Department of Human Services, the Pikes Peak Workforce Center, CSU Extension, El Paso County Public Trustee and the Small Business Development Center.
On Monday, December 23, 2013 the Clerk and Recorder’s Office will operate only the Main Office at the Citizens Service Center; all branch offices will be closed to the public. All Clerk and Recorder services, including motor vehicle registrations, driver’s licenses, marriage licenses, elections and recording services will be available to customers Monday at the main office in the El Paso County Citizens Service Center at 1675 Garden of the Gods Road from 8 a.m. 3 p.m.
The El Paso County Clerk and Recorder’s North Motor Vehicle Branch in the Union Town Center at Research Parkway and North Union Boulevard will be open as usual on Saturday, Dec. 28, from 8:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. Clerk and Recorder services including Recording and Elections are available at the Union Town Center location.
The regularly scheduled Board of County Commissioner meeting for Tuesday, Dec. 24 has been cancelled. The Board of El Paso County Commissioners resumes its regular schedule with meetings on Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013, and Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014.
There is the added caveat that in no event will the County’s proportional amount be greater than either that of the City of Colorado Springs or the State.
That [$1.4 million per year or $42 million] over 30 years could change as more information is available on both the total and the proportional amount of the state award, the city’s acceptance of the award and the County’s acceptance of the agreements needed between it and the “district” or “zone” established to develop and own the facilities.
Centennial Hall Office Reopened
[Colorado Springs, Colo. – November 25, 2013] Effective immediately, the Centennial Hall office has reopened. The equipment failure has been repaired and the office is now fully operational.
“I’d like to thank everyone that worked hard to get the Centennial Hall office open and operational,” stated Chief Deputy Chuck Broerman.
Equipment Malfunction Delays Opening of Centennial Hall Motor Vehicle
[Colorado Springs, Colo. – November 25, 2013] An unforeseen malfunction of equipment has delayed the opening of the Centennial Hall Motor Vehicle Department. Citizens wishing to use the Centennial Hall location are unable to perform any motor vehicle, recording, or elections related transaction at this time. Until the office is ready to open, the Clerk and Recorder’s Office recommends using the Citizens Service Center at 1675 West Garden of the Gods Rd, though all other offices are open as normal.
“We appreciate everyone’s understanding as we rush to fix the problem and reopen the Centennial Hall office as quickly as possible,” stated Chief Deputy Chuck Broerman. “We understand that these sort of unforeseen issues have an impact on the people that had planned on using that site today, and we regret any inconvenience.”
The Clerk and Recorder’s staff hopes to reopen the Centennial Hall office within about two hours.
Commissioner Darryl Glenn Hosts Town Hall Meeting
Update on District 1 Transportation Projects Will Be Primary Focus
El Paso County, October 8, 2013 – El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn will host a Town Hall style meeting at the Black Forest Community Center on Saturday, October 19, 2013.
Items scheduled for discussion include updates on significant projects such as Hodgen Road, Vollmer Road, the intersection at Burgess and Black Forest roads and as well as public infrastructure challenges resulting from the Black Forest Fire and subsequent flooding.
Residents are invited to attend and participate in Commissioner Glenn’s Town Hall Meeting:
When: Saturday October 19, 2013 at 9:00 a.m.
Where: Black Forest Community Center 12530 Black Forest Road
Weather Finally Cooperates for Black Forest Road Projects Delayed by Fire and Floods
El Paso County, CO., October 7, 2013 – The catastrophic Black Forest Fire and post-fire flooding have caused significant delays in the schedule of several important transportation improvement projects in the Black Forest area northeast of Colorado Springs. County Engineer Andre Brackin says contractors are hoping for good fall weather to wrap up several of these major construction projects. “Several projects are behind schedule because of the fire and floods and we really appreciate the ongoing patience of motorists through these delays,” he said.
Contractors continue paving operations at the Black Forest and Burgess Road intersection. The final installation of traffic signals will complete the required safety improvements at that location. The intersection is part of a 3.65 mile section of Black Forest Road where surface improvements are being made. “A two-inch overlay is needed to extend the life of the road,” Brackin said.
Drivers are typically experiencing 15 minute delays during peak driving times through this area of Black Forest but, weather permitting, contractors are expected to complete most of the remaining work on the intersection and the overlay in October allowing for the return of normal traffic flow.
When finished, the new Black Forest at Burgess Road intersection will be much safer for traffic needs. Safety improvements were necessitated by the number of turn movements in all directions through the intersection. They include upgraded signal operation, better lighting, signing and striping that is more visible day and night, safer clearances for pedestrians and those on bicycles and upgrades to drainage. Electric lines and above ground natural gas transmission facilities have also been moved to reduce crash hazards.
Safety improvements are also in focus for the construction on Hodgen Road which will be closed to traffic from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. starting Monday, October 7 and continuing through Friday, October 11 between Meridian Road and Northcliff Road.
The project includes rebuilding the road, realignment, paving the shoulders, and intersection and drainage improvements. A hill near the Meridian and Hodgen intersection will be lowered to improve lines of sight. The flashing signal will be removed and left turn lanes will be added. Construction on Hodgen Road is expected to continue later into the fall.
Funding for these projects is provided through the voter approved Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (PPRTA).
Workload in this office continues to be very stable. 154 notices of election and demand were recorded by this office in August, the lowest monthly total (by 1) of the year, but not much different from prior months. Year-to-date, foreclosures are down 43% from last year and the County is almost certain to have the lowest number of annual foreclosure starts since 2003. The only gray cloud in this good news is that year-to-date El Paso County also appears to have the highest number of foreclosure starts in the state. Over the last several years, Adams, Denver, and now Arapahoe have dropped below the El Paso totals. Since our County has the largest population in the state, this is neither surprising nor completely alarming – we have 9% more people than Arapahoe, but only 2% more foreclosures than they do – but the trend from 4th highest to 1st highest is further evidence (along with jobs data) that the recovery in Metro Denver has so far been more robust than it has here.
Four foreclosures with outstanding balances over $1 million were filed in August: Whispering Pines Apartments and Alvarado Place Apartments, both in the Pikes Peak Park area; Fillmore Business Park, at Arcadia; and a collection of vacant lots mostly in Manitou Springs.
Releases of Deeds of Trust increased this month to 3911, which is a bit lower than the monthly totals for most of this year. In the first 8 months of 2013 we have released 33,526 Deeds of Trust, more than the total released in all of 2011. Usually, El Paso County has the highest number of releases in the state, but so far this year Jefferson County has had more releases.