DA-elect preparing for office

Filling current vacancies a focus in interim

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Election results

14th Judicial District Attorney race

• Moffat County

Oldham: 3,640 - 67.2 percent

Stewart: 1,771 - 32.7 percent

• Routt County

Stewart: 6,775 - 58.7 percent

Oldham: 4,775 - 41.2 percent

• Grand County

Oldham: 4,394 - 60 percent

Stewart: 2,861 - 39 percent

• Totals

Oldham: 12,789 - 52.8 percent

Stewart: 11,407 - 471. percent

A Tuesday night election party for Elizabeth Oldham, the 14th Judicial District Attorney-elect, ended without her definitively knowing the outcome of her bid against Democrat Tammy Stewart.

"I didn't know for certain, and I wasn't going to assume," Oldham said of the final results. "It wasn't until the next morning : that I knew it was real."

When the results came in, Oldham, a Republican and currently the 14th's assistant district attorney, had won a new job in the tri-county district, succeeding current DA Bonnie Roesink.

However, rather than bask in the afterglow of her Election Day victory, Oldham said she's begun the task of transitioning from the Roesink administration to her own.

"I am starting, right now, to take on more responsibilities," said Oldham, citing her attendance and upcoming attendance at meetings with law enforcement, current employees and elected officials. "It's something we're starting, but I am also still limited because of (my) caseload.

"We have our plate full over here, too."

One of the main priorities, she said, is filling a current vacancy in the Routt County office, and then a coming vacancy in the Grand County office, created by her promotion.

Advertisements for the positions have been posted, Oldham said, adding that an ideal scenario would be hiring the Routt County position first, and the Grand County position by the end of the year, or closer to her taking over as district attorney.

A decision Oldham will have to make is on naming a new assistant district attorney, her current position.

She said the next assistant could be one of the new hires, or it could come from within the district attorney's office.

Oldham said she'll also appoint a chief deputy district attorney for the Moffat County office, but like the assistant's position, she's reserving that decision for a later date.

"At this point," Oldham said, "I'm keeping all my options open."

Oldham, who will be sworn into office in January 2009, said she plans to spend at least one full workday every week at each of the judicial district's offices.

New programs she proposed during the election - a domestic violence fast-track program and a citizen advisory board for each county in the judicial district - remain priorities for the new district attorney.

"I think a realistic goal is to have it up and functioning in six months, with an anticipation of hopefully getting it done sooner," Oldham said.

Expanding a current program also is something she is interested in and would consider in coming months.

She agreed that the Moffat County Drug Court program, a long-awaited offering launched in January 2007 in Craig, has been successful and would be a worthwhile addition to Routt and Grand counties.

Drug Court is a voluntary program for defendants facing felony probation revocation. It combines the judiciary, law enforcement, prosecution, probation and treatment communities, and requires mandatory drug testing, employment, court appearances and treatment from participants, among other requirements.

"It is something I'd like to see happen in the other counties," Oldham said. "It's just a matter of being able to do it realistically. We all have to collaborate and work together.

"I think (everyone) wants to," but "it's not something you can just snap your fingers at."

Although Oldham is preparing herself and the new office she will lead for the next four years, changes also are coming for her Election Day opponent.

In a letter to the Daily Press editor, Stewart wrote that she has resigned her positions as assistant Moffat County attorney and the city's alcohol compliance hearing officer. (See full letter to the editor, page 6)

"I was deeply hurt and shocked by election results of Moffat County voters," the Steamboat Springs attorney wrote. "I cared deeply about Moffat County and took pride in serving the county."

Stewart's letter went on to explain personal sacrifices she made to work for the county as well as a "$180 an hour pay cut" she took to "come protect the children of Moffat County at the Department of Social Services."

On Friday, she said she made the decision to resign with a "very, very heavy heart."

Joshua Roberts can be reached at 875-1791, or jroberts@craigdailypress.com.

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