Commissioner's respond to resident's proposed coalition

To the Editor:

We read the letter from Paul Bishop (published Oct. 15 in the Craig Daily Press) and were taken back by your suggestions for a name for your proposed taxpayer coalition. You certainly have a right to comment, but we would have expected your comments to be made in a more constructive and professional manner.

We would like to address those comments. We did provide pizza at the noon public meeting concerning building codes and permit fees held on Oct. 8. This was an open public meeting that you knew about and were welcome to attend. You should have attended, as the meeting was educational for the taxpayers. The commissioners and the Building Department received valuable input from the attendees.

We asked these busy people to come during their lunch hour so that we would have good attendance and would receive as much input as possible from the community. Since the attendees gave up their lunch hours to attend the meeting, we felt that it was important and appropriate to provide lunch.

In reference to your concerns about our county attorney, we agree that our former attorney was an outstanding county attorney. It was his decision not to continue in this position, as he believed that the workload could no longer be handled on a part-time basis. He was not willing to close his private practice to become full-time county attorney. It was our former county attorney's recommendation that Moffat County hire a full-time, in-house county attorney.

We did, and hired another outstanding county attorney. She does two jobs for us, serving both as general counsel for the county and as attorney for the county department of social services.

Prior to becoming county attorney, she served as counsel for social services on a part-time basis for 17 years. The portion of the county attorney budget that is attributable to social services is reimbursed to the county by the state of Colorado. The cost to Moffat County of full-time in-house counsel, including the expense of a full-time legal assistant, is no greater than the cost of contracting for part-time general counsel and part-time social services counsel.

Finally, the administrative services director does not have three assistants. I am sorry that you did not take the time to obtain accurate information about the staffing of the administration department. The administrative services director has two part-time assistants, the equivalent of one FTE. Her predecessor, who served under prior boards of county commissioners, had one full-time assistant. There has been no increase in the number of FTEs in the administration department.

I hope this answers your questions. Please feel free to comment in public during the public comment time scheduled at the commissioner meetings.

Thank you,

Marianna Raftopoulos, Les Hampton and T. Wright Dickinson,

Moffat County commissioners

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