Town mayor wants to keep Social Services office open

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Roloff case update

A former Moffat County Social Services employee charged with distributing methamphetamine was granted more time to consider a plea agreement.

Jeremy Snow, deputy district attorney for the 14th Judicial District Attorney's Office, said Carla Roloff was granted a continuance in her court proceedings Tuesday so she could deliberate on a plea offer.

Roloff's next court appearance is scheduled for 2 p.m. Sept. 2.

Roloff, 57, was charged in June with two counts of distribution of a controlled substance, a Class 3 felony.

Class 3 felonies carry a possible sentence of a fine between $3,000 and $750,000 and between four and 12 years in prison, with a mandatory five-year parole period.

Distribution charges can vary, however, with lighter or stiffer penalties for smaller or larger amounts of drugs.

Snow said the amount of methamphetamine Roloff is charged with distributing is not public record at this point.

Dinosaur Mayor Freda Powell does not want Carla Roloff's arrest to become another example of lost services for Dinosaur residents.

Since 1996, Roloff, a 57-year-old Dinosaur resident, had operated a Social Services office in Dinosaur part-time. That ended when she was arrested in June and charged with two counts of distribution of a Schedule 2 controlled substance, a Class 3 felony.

Law enforcement reported at least one case of drug distribution occurred within the Social Services office.

Powell said Dinosaur residents she has spoken with are withholding judgment in Roloff's case until a judge or jury reaches a decision. However, they do not want the Social Services office to be jeopardized by her arrest the same way other local services have seemingly evaporated after a change in circumstances, she added.

Dinosaur once had its own judge, Powell said. When he retired, residents there were told a Craig judge would come to town once a month.

"Well, that doesn't happen now," Powell said. "It got phased out."

A similar pledge was given by Social Services after Roloff's arrest, she added.

It is current policy for one Social Services technician to visit Dinosaur one day a week, usually Wednesdays.

"I think something like (what happened with the local courts) could easily happen here," Powell said.

Social Services Director Marie Peer and Moffat County Commissioner Tom Gray said they are committed to providing the best services for Dinosaur residents but that there are a few options to consider.

First, the county could continue to send a Craig office technician to Dinosaur once a week.

Gray said he thinks there is some benefit to having Social Services technicians visit Dinosaur, as opposed to a local resident staffing the office.

Roloff was a clerk for the department. She did not have authority to approve someone for any Social Services program or training to know the programs' details.

"We want to do what makes the most sense," Gray said, adding that trained Craig office staff likely would have more expertise with Social Services programs than a part-time clerk.

"I don't think it's an economic issue whether we hire a new person or send people from (Craig) there," he said. "It will cost us around the same either way with travel and other costs."

It is Powell's hope that Social Services will hire another Dinosaur resident to staff its office there.

"We'd like to make sure this position stays here," she said. "It's important for us to have this here."

Gray said he understood Powell's position and mentioned how Dinosaur also lost its Moffat County School District support and now has a Moffat County Sheriff's Office deputy, instead of an independent town marshal.

He reiterated that the county does not want to cut Dinosaur loose.

One other possible solution is to transfer Dinosaur clients to the Rio Blanco County Social Services office in Rangely. The commission and Social Services officials said they are not opposed to that.

"That's only 17 miles away, and that might be easier for everyone there," Peer said. "But, at this point in time, (the Rangely office) doesn't think this is something they can do."

Any decision regarding the Dinosaur Social Services office will have to provide a level of support that maintains services for that area, Peer said.

Since Roloff was removed from the office, the number of reported office visits has decreased significantly.

Roloff reported between 30 and 50 office visits each month, Peer said. In July, the one month since she left the office, Social Services staff recorded nine office visits.

Gray said the recent drop in service doesn't show a whole lot to him. It could be that the publicity of Roloff's arrest and the fallout afterward has made people skittish about coming to the office.

The drop in office visits is odd, Peer said. But, there shouldn't be any reason for Roloff to lie on her reports.

"I would not think Roloff would have reason to" falsify reports, Peer said.

The commission plans to wait and see what develops during the next few months before making a permanent decision about Dinosaur operations.

Neither Peer nor anyone else talked about dissolving the position, Peer said.

Social Services has always considered maintaining a Dinosaur office a priority, she said. When Peer started at the department in 1969, she would make the trip to meet with clients there.

"We've always had that position in Dinosaur as long as I have been here because it's 90 miles away and it's a service to people who live there," Peer said. "We don't want the people there to have to drive 90 miles to get the services they need."

Collin Smith can be reached at 875-1794 or cesmith@craigdailypress.com.

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