Group Think is one facet of the leadership problem in Elbert County government. Add, "We don't speak ill publicly about our own kind", and you have the recipe for corruption, deterioration, and destruction.
The past 25 years of Republican control in Elbert County has brought just that. The corruption is well documented with lawsuits resulting in convictions of elected officials, fines levied and jail time served. The deterioration is evidenced by the budget numbers that show a steady decline ($3M per year for at least the last five years) in the county's net value.
Destruction. The recent resignation of elected Republican Commissioner Kelly Dore, was targeted destruction through insults, insubordination and threats from other elected officials and employees. It should be viewed as a deafening cry of warning to citizens. It is a true indicator of the level of decay housed in the government offices in Kiowa.
Still, election after election, the Republicans are elected. Republicans, largely, are the ones electing "their own kind". The lament from Republicans that "Republicans don't talk ugly about other Republicans" can no longer be tolerated as an ethical reason for not taking corrective action. When Commissioner Rowland casually and intentionally drops his gun on Commissioner Dore's foot in the BOCC meeting room ahead of a public meeting, it's time to call it out and change direction. It's not funny, it's not cute. It is intentional bullying. It was effective.
I read on the Elbert County Citizens Facebook page this week the following current Elbert County voter statistics from the Colorado Secretary of State:
Elbert County Active Voters:
These are staggering numbers that benefit the Republicans. Seemingly insurmountable for the Democrats in every election cycle.
I can no longer trust the Elbert County Republican Central Committee to proffer qualified candidates nor to "police" thuggish and financially irresponsible behavior once elected. The three commissioner candidates offered up this election do not inspire me. The Committee membership is locked into "Group Think" mentality. Candidates are required to pledge allegiance to the direction of the central committee, the majority of whose members are currently or past county-elected or county-employed. Voices of discontent are summarily quashed and cast out, a la the nomination of Danny Willcox over Paula Wilderman. Group Think. More of the same.
The hollow battle cry from Chairman Tom Peterson, posted on the EC Republican Party website (Letters from the Chair) just doesn't cut it for me. It's hollow because the committee permits abuse by its own blessed party elected, in the areas he mentions below:
Why are you a Republican? I'm concerned with....
More of the same will not prove successful in coping with the rapid population growth in our county as evidenced by the number of proposed new housing developments, and about which our government officials are reluctant to direct public information sessions or even announcements, other than an advertisement in one local paper.
I'm taking a chance on the three Democrats. They seem willing and capable of taking control of the purse strings, free of "Group Think" from any local party cabal. I'm hoping their pledges of government transparency will be less hollow than that consistently proven by our local Republicans.
--- A Former Republican, Elbert County Resident
The Democrats have put forth a "scary-qualified"candidate to replace Kelly Dore as EC Commissioner for District 2. Donald Charobee worked 35 years as a Federal Law Enforcement Officer for US Department of Homeland Security Investigations and US Customs Service.
"Worked a wide variety of criminal investigations where I was responsible for the identification and arrest of East Bloc intelligence operatives: investigations involving product, safety military armament systems, child pornography, narcotics smuggling, trade fraud, white collar and financial crime, intellectual property rights and internal investigations."
He is a Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist (CAMS) and Member of the Executive Board of the Colorado Chapter ACAMS (Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists). Considering all of the financial shenanigans and influence irregularities that have gone on over the last ten years in the Elbert County's Government, Charobee could have a real positive effect over the same ol same ol Kurt Schlegel/water barons influences once again mindlessly put forth by the Republicans.
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Sometimes, when you write a column with the odd title of Mundus Vult Decipi, Ergo Decipiatur the topics come easily. After all, the average person, if they are being honest with themselves, do wish to be deceived. We want to believe that nice guys finish first, that if we just work hard enough our ship will pull into port, or that if...
Opening invocation, pledge, approval of agenda.
Consent agenda approved: vouchers approved, approval of purchase orders for 2 John Deere graders
Elected officials/department heads/staff reports: Home schoolers studying government welcomed. Clerk's office reported that overseas ballots are out and that signs for the 100' electioneering prohibition rules are up. Reports of a good budget meeting on 9/27/16.
Public comment: Mr. Gingrich from Cottonwood area handed out packets to commissioners summarizing issues related to unpermitted structures. Susan Shick complimented staff on the budget meeting; however no copies of the draft budget were provided to the public so it was difficult to understand what was being discussed. The lack of response to her questions about cancellation of the Thimgan contract is a concern as conditions of employment of that company have never been fulfilled.
Marlene Groves gave a presentation proposing the reinstitution of a Citizen Finance Oversight Committee. The presentation included scope/purpose, general concept, guidelines, membership, past history, and the need for such a committee - county unwilling to share information, always behind in budget process, need for transparency, unidentified bank accounts, etc. Patty Sward responded about the excellence of Ms. Grove's presentation and expressed the importance of utilizing diversity in a wide variety of areas when selecting volunteers to serve on such a committee.
1) Expansion of the authority of outside counsel to handle matters contained in the Lark Fogel letter dated 9/22/16 (related to personnel issue). Passed 2-1 with Robert Rowland dissenting.
2) Instruct outside counsel to respond to the email from Attorney Lark Fogel to BOCC dated 9/23/16 (related to personnel issue). Passed 2-1 with Robert Rowland dissenting.
Executive session: Commissioners went into executive session to discuss privileged communication for personnel related matters, Fogel letters, MSEC investigation and Larson report to receive legal advice with outside counsel Steve Larson. (Commissioner Rowland stated that he would recuse himself from voting during executive session because he believed it would be an illegal meeting.)
New business (continued):
3) Voted to extend by one year the CWCB contract amendment regarding the water supply grant.
4) County attorney authorized to move forward in four outstanding code enforcement cases in the Cottonwood area in Deer Trail related to unpermitted structures.
County manager Ed Ehman came to the podium to inform the public that he had changed his decision from the previous day's budget meeting (9/27/16) where he had stated that the draft budget would NOT be put online. As of today, the draft budget will be available on the county website.
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I have a couple of Republican friends who get all of Commissioner Robert Rowland’s email missives as the leader of the Elbert County Tea Party. They send them to me for some strange reason. Now before I move into my topic, let me be clear on something:
Kelly Dore, Robert Rowland, Larry Ross, Del Schwab, John Shipper all failed to attend even one open house where their opponents were present because they were scared.
Now Chris Richardson, Grant Thayer, and Danny Wilcox have stayed away from the latest meet ‘n greet at the Library in Elizabeth this afternoon. They must be scared, too.
They are scared to address real issues or talk with their constituents. Instead, they stay away. Rowland said he’d never attend a meeting where Democrats would ask questions. Ross said he couldn’t find it in his calendar. Kelly Dore decided to do a fund raiser in the Falcon Lounge. Del Schwab and John Shipper were conveniently “busy with other things.”
Obviously, they don’t need to meet their constituents or listen to their ideas or talk about issues facing the County. They’re so certain of election that they can ignore folks who might want to know where they really stand.
Wouldn’t it be nice if the voters took into account whether these guys made themselves accessible to the public and voted accordingly? Maybe we wouldn’t have such scared people running the show.
Unless you have been living under a rock, you have no doubt heard of the proposed large housing project north of County Rd.158 known currently as Independence. It was formerly known as the Bandera development.