Craig It's unclear whether a June 17 meeting led by a 14th Judicial District Attorney candidate and county employee violated a county policy.
Officials gathered Monday morning during a workshop to discuss the county political activities policy, which prohibits county employees from campaigning using county property. The group included Commissioners Saed Tayyara and Tom Gray, County Attorney Kathleen Taylor, Clerk and Recorder Elaine Sullivan and Lynnette Running, Moffat County Human Resources director.
The majority of the group agreed the policy's wording was open to multiple interpretations.
County officials will draft suggested revisions to the policy and plan to bring it before the Commission in early July.
The policy review follows a public meeting lead by District Attorney candidate Tammy Stewart, who also is an assistant Moffat County Attorney, at the Craig branch of the Moffat County Libraries last week. The meeting was designed to gather public input about the District Attorney's office, Stewart said previously.
Late last week, however, Tayyara said the meeting violated the political activities policy.
Running declined to comment on whether Stewart was in violation of the county's policy, saying the issue was a personnel matter.
However, she said the policy does not clearly state what constitutes county property.
"The use of county property includes but is not necessarily limited to the use of county telephones, fax machines, computers, email, copiers, copy paper and supplies," according to the policy.
That list doesn't include physical property owned by the county, Running said, adding, "that's what we need to clarify."
Tayyara, however, differed.
"County property defined in my mind is the courthouse, the Road and Bridge (facilities), the library - whatever we own," he said.
Stewart, who was not at the meeting, agrees that the policy is unclear.
"I'm an attorney, so I'm trained to read statutes," she said. "It wasn't even clear to me.
"I still believe strongly that I did not violate that statute."
In coming weeks, county officials will discuss what county facilities might be open to campaign activities.
Running opposed prohibiting those activities in library facilities. The library may be the only public meeting place in other Moffat County communities, she said, including Maybell and Dinosaur.
She suggested allowing candidates to use library facilities to host public forums, adding that they should be required to make prior reservations and complete necessary paperwork to do so.
"Someone can't just walk in off the street and hold a meeting," she said.
County officials also discussed applying the policy to include members of the public running for office.
The policy, which appears in the county employee handbook, applies only to county employees.
"We don't want to make a policy that is more strict on our employees than any member of the public that is running for office," Running said.
Stewart said that currently is the case under the existing policy.
"Moffat County employees who are running - who are candidates - they have more restrictive rules than non-employees," she said.
County officials will draft suggested revisions to the policy and are scheduled to bring it before the Commission in early July.