In recent years residents of Adams County have been told a lack of money is the reason behind cuts in services and additional “fees” being unjustly imposed on them. When you’re an Adams County elected official or administrator however, the supposed lack of money matters little when a nice taxpayer-funded mountain resort junket is possible.
Last year county commissioners and administrators plopped down nearly $6,000 for their ‘annual retreat’ at a fancy Estes Park resort. For 2014 they nearly quadrupled that expenditure dropping over $20,000 for the event including a sole-source contract to an out of state facilitator.
The three day, two night retreat was held from January 28 to January 30 at the Estes Park Resort.
The facility boasts, “crisp mountain air, expansive spaces and panoramic views of the Rockies.” It is further described as, “an elegant mountain getaway with all the comforts of home.”
Indeed it sounds downright inviting – but not cheap.
Taxpayers paid $10,144.70 for 20 of those that run the county government to sleep under “cozy down comforters”. For that price they also enjoyed taxpayer funded meals including dinner at the Waterfront Grille with coconut crusted halibut, grilled Angus rib eye and pan roasted king salmon.
My mouth is watering as I type that.
I bet more than a few Adams County residents on food stamps or those unemployed and risking eviction could have paid rent or fed their families for that kind of money.
Like they say in an infomercial, but wait, there’s more!
Apparently the county does not have one, competent person in its employ to facilitate this “strategic planning session.” As such, the county felt it necessary to plop down another $11,305.00 to fly someone out from an Ohio consulting firm to help them.
The services of Novak Consulting Group and the facilitator, Catherine Tuck Parrish, are apparently “unique” in some way that County Administrator Todd Leopold gave the company a sole source contract for the services. No competitive bidding was allowed, no transparency in the selection process.
Certainly, answering such tough questions as the key strengths and weakness of the county government and what challenges the community may face in the future requires someone of inordinate expertise. <tongue in cheek>
It would appear that Novak Consulting Group had the “unique” ability to rip off Adams County taxpayers. No one locally could be found I guess although that usually isn’t a problem.
Now I fully know that every governmental entity sends officials on these types of junkets. It is a poorly kept secret but one that really is sickening, especially in Adams County given its history of poor governance and leadership.
A lack of money is the reason our jail isn’t fully staffed and criminals are being sent back into our communities rather than serving time. Money is the reason a stormwater tax was enacted by the two leftists on the Board of Commissioners because certain projects were deemed so critical that we were told residents had to bear the burden.
Sitting up in Brighton there is a new government building with plenty of room to host a meeting for 20 people. There are also lots of places to eat in the area and commissioners and administrators could have spent the nights in their own bed at home.
This doesn’t stop Adams County though.
Nope. Taxpayers were paying the bill so county officials decided to hit the road and ignore their own travel and meal expense policy. In Adams County, the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Read the documents:
In a beautifully penned op-ed in the Denver Post, Colorado gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo masterfully took a swipe at former Colorado GOP chair Dick Wadhams.
I don’t have a favorite yet in the Colorado governor race and at this time I don’t believe Tancredo will be my top pick when I do reach a decision. However, I wholeheartedly agree with his evaluation of Wadhams, he of many defeats and the reason Colorado took a huge turn to the blue in recent years.
Asking Dick Wadhams’ advice on how to win Colorado elections is like asking Barack Obama’s advice on how to balance the federal budget. His track record does not inspire confidence.
Given his own prominent role in the unfortunate debacle of the 2010 governor’s race, I can understand why he wants to distract attention away from his own failed stewardship of the Colorado Republican Party.
In the years from 2008 to 2011, the Republican Party of Colorado not only lost Wayne Allard’s U.S. Senate seat and failed to win back the governorship, but the state also saw new Republican voter registrations outdistanced by new unaffiliated voters, 5 to 1.
Then, on his way out in February 2011, Wadhams attacked the Tea Party for good measure. Maybe this is why Colorado Republicans think of Wadhams as the pied piper of excuses, not victories.
That honest evaluation of Wadhams is spot on.
The Post continues to call on Wadhams as some sort of Republican expert when in truth, he is far from it. There are few within the party that look with favor on his reign at the head of the state GOP and even fewer want to see him as a mouthpiece for the party today.
I cringe when I read one of the Post’s leftist writers quoting the man as if his word were conservative gospel or held any sway in our party.
My opinion? Don’t go away mad, Dick. Just go away.
The latest issue of the Adams County Democratic Party newsletter, the Gadfly, is an eye-opener on the first page. Not only do the local Democrats lay claim to the county government center as theirs, they illegally use a copyrighted photo to do so.
The “Special Edition 2014 Caucus” of the newsletter shows the return address for the Adams County Democratic Party of their headquarters in unincorporated Adams County. The address is superimposed on a photo of the Adams County Government Center in Brighton.
This is wrong in so many ways.
The hubris of the local Democrat party is clearly evident in the symbology the image shows. Their title and headquarters address is shown over the home of our – the people’s – county government building in Brighton.
The newsletter is of course meant only for party insiders. They would not dare show this level of contempt and disrespect for voters in public but now revealed, it clearly shows how these Democrats feel.
They believe they own county government, that it is theirs to do with as they will. As the dominant force in county politics, the local Dems are telling the people that it is the all-powerful Democrats in control, even of the county government building.
The use of this particular photo in fact adds another item to the Adams County Democrat scandal sheet. It is copyrighted and being used by them illegally.
The photo of the government center appears to have been hijacked from the website of Saunders Construction, the company that built the facility. The data within the original image shows the photographer’s name and clearly shows it is copyrighted.
I reached out to the photographer to see if he had granted the Adams County Democrats permission to use his extraordinary artwork. He did not.
The hard work and decades of experience of the photographer are worth nothing to the local Dems. Like thieves in the night, they stole the image and pasted it into their newsletter without seeking permission or compensating the man for his art.
Certainly there will be those – primarily on the left – who will dismiss this saying, “So they took a picture from the web. Who cares?”
They will be missing the point that this is another chapter in the entire volume of unethical and criminal behavior of the Adams County Democrats. Further, this is theft, plain and simple.
Once again, the local Democrat party has acted illegally, stealing something which is not theirs. It is wrong. Period. They should issue a public apology for their thievery and compensate the artist.
The theft of this photo and its manipulation are highly symbolic of the local Democrats. This one case summarizes the illegal actions and lack of ethical behavior Adams County citizens have been subject to under their leadership.
Editor’s note: I am not naming the photographer so as to save him having his name associated with the Adams County Democrats’ illegal activities. The local party can easily discover his contact information themselves and discuss with him appropriate payment for the image they stole.
For many, honoring those who served is simply lip service with no real action to back up their words. As shown in a recent video from 60 minutes, one young man grasps the price of service and sacrifice like few adults.
Eight-year-old Myles Eckert was ecstatic as he entered an Ohio Cracker Barrel one day – he had just found $20.00 in the parking lot. He had big plans for that money, possibly including a video game.
Also at the restaurant was Lt. Col. Frank Dailey.
On seeing the airman, Myles thought again about what to do with that $20 bill. Instead of spending it on himself, he gave it to Dailey with a note.
You see, young Myles lost his dad when he was only five months old. Army Sergeant Andy Eckert made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq.
“Dear Soldier — my dad was a soldier. He’s in heaven now. I found this 20 dollars in the parking lot when we got here. We like to pay it forward in my family. It’s your lucky day! Thank you for your service. Myles Eckert, a gold star kid.”
It is an extraordinarily touching action taken by a young boy with the wisdom and insight that so few of us can claim.
Watch the video below or click here. Kleenex warning issued.
Driving through Henderson this morning I came across this church sign. While I am not looking for a new church, if I were, this would be my first stop.
File this with other strange and bizarre Adams County political happenings but staunch, life-long Democrat Alice Nichol has become a Republican. No, really!
Nichol has been spotted at various Republican events in recent months. On Sunday the Denver Post reported that she changed her voter registration on her birthday, February 6, which also is Ronald Reagan’s birthday.
After being investigated for alleged wrongdoing while serving as an Adams County Commissioner, Nichol very publicly had said the local Democrat party had abandoned her despite her years of service to liberal causes. She then became an independent.
“After 50 years a Democrat and one year unaffiliated, I’m now a Republican,” Nichol told the Post. “The Democratic Party left me, honestly. They had no faith in me throughout all that publicity. They treated me like a leper.”
This is certainly another twist in the saga of Adams County Democrat happenings.
It appears this is nothing more than Nichol ‘giving the finger’ to the leftists but I have to wonder if perhaps maybe, just maybe, she has seen the light and realized the right is right.
The wrangling around Adams County Sheriff Doug Darr’s unilateral imposition of a cap on municipal inmates at the county jail continues as the Board of County Commissioners announced this morning it will break its trust with the public and endorse the cap.
Last week five municipalities filed suit against the county and the sheriff’s office saying that the cap on inmates jeopardized public safety. It was the latest move in a three-year battle in which Darr has ignored the pleas of city officials, chiefs of police and citizens.
This morning the county posted to its website a notice saying, “The Adams County Board of Commissioners will, on Monday, pass a resolution placing a cap on the number of municipal inmates accepted at 30.”
This move is shocking on a number of levels.
First and foremost, the county commissioners are saying that they endorse a policy that has jeopardized citizen safety.
The chiefs of police of area municipalities said last year the situation was a ‘crisis’ and it has not been resolved since then. To see the board back Darr’s actions is almost beyond belief, particularly since they disavowed themselves of the cap last year.
Second, it is interesting to note that per the resolution, the commissioners pass the buck for managing the inmate cap to the cities. They write, “The municipalities will be jointly responsible for limiting the number of municipal inmates…”
What? Not only are commissioners endorsing an unjust cap, they are forcing the cities which do not agree with the cap to manage it. Is it not the job of the Adams County Sheriff to manage the jail?
Third, despite the fact the commissioners would have us believe they have restored ethical behavior to their offices, it is clear they have a long way to go.
The fact the county announced that they ‘will pass’ this resolution before any public discussion on the issue and before the actual vote is reprehensible.
The item does appear on today’s agenda however it is unknown when it was added and first appeared publicly. Something of this high level of importance deserves – indeed demands – a full public hearing, something which the commissioners appear to want to avoid.
I am dumbfounded at today’s news. To see the commissioners endorse the sheriff’s actions is beyond belief.
Update, 12:25pm – Board adopts resolution unanimously. The audio from this morning’s commissioner meeting shows that there was a minimum of discussion highlighting that the outcome was predetermined.
No questions were made from the board before a motion was put forth to accept the resolution. Commissioner Erik Hansen moved to adopt it and it was seconded by Eva Henry and passed unanimously.
In commentary Hansen said, “I will say that I’m not a big fan of this action to cap the number of municipal inmates at 30, but we don’t really have a lot of choice in my opinion because I don’t think it’s in the public’s interest to spend taxpayers’ money suing each other. My hope is that the sheriff and municipalities can work together to resolve this issue as quickly as possible.”
Henry added her own thoughts saying, “I agree with Commissioner Hansen that I really do not want to do this. Unfortunately we’ve been backed into a corner and we have no choice but to be able to do this to stop a lawsuit so that way, hopefully, we encourage our municipalities and our sheriff to have a conversation so we can find a resolution in regards to this.”
It is unclear how adopting this resolution will stop the lawsuit against the county and sheriff. I would expect one of the commissioners or another insider will enlighten me and I will update the story accordingly.
In the meantime I would simply say this: While the commissioners can say they hope the cities and sheriff work things out, the fact of the matter is that the jail cap issue has been going on for three years. In that time zero progress has been made and taxpayers that pay for the jail have seen their safety compromised. It is a complete and total failure of leadership at the county level at multiple county offices that has brought us here.
- On the net: Adams County commissioners reluctantly reinstate jail inmate limits (Denver Post)
Update, 5:00pm – Insiders have told me that the commissioners took this step to save the county the expense of defending themselves in a lawsuit. The suit from the cities correctly asserted that state law says the board of county commissioners is the one that controls municipal access to the jail, not the sheriff. Their hope is that by reinstituting the cap themselves, the lawsuit will be tossed by the courts thus avoiding the legal fight. Commissioners did consider joining the cities in the suit against the sheriff but they felt that too would be expensive as they would be forced to allow the sheriff to hire an outside attorney to defend his actions. My source told me the end solution is for voters to select the right person to lead the sheriff department in the November elections, one who will work toward a real solution.
In my opinion, the reasoning behind the actions changes little. Absolutely we never should have reached this point and Darr and the commissioners are to blame. In the case of the commissioners, yes, the current board inherited a mess created by their predecessors but it is their job to clean it up. I also believe Adams County voters share the blame as they are the ones that put Darr back in office three+ years ago despite the writing being on the wall. Hopefully they correct that by making a wise choice in November.
Update, 5:45pm – One last addendum. I apparently ruffled some feathers by questioning the ethics of the actions taken by the commissioners today. That comment was not directed as much at the resolution itself but as to how it was brought up and the public notified.
The resolution was only announced Sunday night in a media advisory. A posting was made to the county website with today’s date (screenshot below) at some point before the meeting. That posting said the commissioners ‘will pass’ the measure, this before anyone from the public could have their opinion heard.
Even if a member of the public saw the media advisory on a Sunday night or the website posting this morning, they would have little time to plan to make an appearance and have their voice heard. The outcome was obviously predetermined and the commissioners didn’t care if the public had anything to say about it.
I don’t care if this is the way things are ‘normally’ done or not. It is wrong and it is unethical to conduct county business like this unless an emergency and this clearly is not. The public should have the opportunity to have its voice heard and the commissioners should have to weigh such comments before conducting votes.
We do not like it when the president and Congress ramrod legislation through without reading it or giving us an opportunity to study and comment on it. This is no different.
Aurora, Commerce City, Federal Heights, Northglenn and Thornton filed the suit in district court on Wednesday. The suit names Sheriff Doug Darr and the members of the Adams County Board of Commissioners.
In it, the cities say, “the safety of Plaintiff’s citizenry has been compromised by Defendant Darr’s actions.”
The cap on the number of duly sentenced criminals allowed in the jail has been a point of contention between area cities and the county for three years. These municipalities and their taxpayers paid for the relatively new jail that now sits largely unoccupied.
Despite efforts by the cities to reach an amicable solution that would not jeopardize public safety, Darr has essentially told the cities to pound sand. He has turned a deaf ear to the concerns of local police chiefs, elected officials and citizens.
The chiefs of police have unanimously said that Darr’s lockout has put citizens at risk.
For their part, the cities have done their best to work with the sheriff to come to some sort of agreement. They have offered dozens of suggestions on ways jail operations could be improved and criminals housed as they should be.
Darr has refused to work in good faith to correct the issue and like so many other county officials, shown his contempt for those who put him in office. Worse than that, he puts lives at risk.
The sheriff has said since his budget was cut during the economic downturn he was unable to maintain adequate staffing at the jail. This may well be true and most likely is.
However, it is his job to properly manage the facility and if there was any doubt that he would not be able to do so with his funding, he should have raised the issue at the time. Additionally, the commissioners (really the previous occupants of the seats) are to blame for failing to properly fund the sheriff’s office.
It is a sad statement about Adams County when cities must take the county to court to protect their citizens and ensure basic law enforcement services are provided.
Proper planning, management and collaboration would have prevented this before it became an issue. Instead we are left with yet another example of Adams County government failing to uphold the public trust and do its job.
Thankfully county voters will have their say in November. We will be able to elect a sheriff with the proper credentials and morals to uphold the public trust and protect its citizens.
On the net:
- Cities sue Adams County Sheriff over municipal inmate cap at jail (Denver Post)
- Document: Lawsuit against Adams County
The narrative in the mainstream media is that big business and a select few right-wing people control politics in the U.S. through their domination of campaign contributions. Thanks to a newly released report, that can be disproved easily.
It is not business interests that dominate OpenSecret.org’s “heavy hitters” list of top donors. In fact it is labor unions and liberal Political Action Committees that have made up the bulk of contributions over the past 25 years – by a longshot.
The Center for Responsive Politics analyzed the expenditures of various groups and then classified them based on where they spent their money – Republican or Democrat. Some groups had a definite tilt one way or the other. Most businesses however hedged their bets and donated pretty equally to both sides of the aisle.
It is rather illuminating to see that of the top 25 donors, 15 donate predominately to Democrats and liberal causes. Seven of the top 25 split between each side. Only three leaned right and those weren’t by much.
Labor unions dominate the listings holding 13 of the top 25. This includes the AFSCME, NEA, IBEW, UAW, AFT and the other usual suspects. As expected, all steer the majority of their funds to leftist candidates and causes.
Combined, those unions have spent nearly a half billion dollars of their members’ hard earned money on political activities. And yet union leadership can’t understand why their membership is in continual decline.
At the other side of the spectrum, it is interesting to note how far down on the list the usual bogeymen that the left cries about are.
A prime example is Koch Industries, a favorite target of the left. They are clear down at number 59. Eighteen unions ranked higher.
Following most recent Obamacare delay, liberal commentator says Obama ‘really incompetently put this together’
Despite years of planning and billions spent, Obamacare is still not ready for primetime and portions of it have been delayed again. Even those who have defended President Barack Obama’s so-called signature achievement are at a loss for words to defend him and his welfare state.
National Journal columnist and Obamacare cheerleader Ron Fournier wrote yesterday, “It’s getting difficult and slinking toward impossible to defend the Affordable Care Act.”
Fournier lays out a litany of issues with the implementation of the law including the falsifying of numbers by officials, the lack of accountability for the website catastrophe and the potentially illegal and continued delays in implementation.
He was not the only liberal admitting the welfare program was becoming indefensible.
Fox News contributor Kirsten Powers said she agreed with Fournier’s comments and was even more pointed in her critique.
“People who have supported the law, who support universal health care, are constantly put in the position of having to defend this president, who has really incompetently put this together, rolled it out, and that’s why he has to do this. It’s why he has to keep doing this, because it’s not working,” Powers said on the air.
“It’s now gotten to the point where it seems like there’s an exemption made for pretty much everybody except for individuals,” she continued. “A lot of people who have really been screwed over by the law, you know, who are left without insurance or with extremely expensive insurance.”