Heather McGregorPost Independent EditorGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

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April 27, 2011
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Garfield County interviews four finalists for lead county attorney

On Friday, the Garfield County commissioners will be interviewing four finalists for the job of lead county attorney.The finalists are Ronald Carlson of Frisco, Andrew Gorgey of Colorado Springs, David D. Smith of Glenwood Springs, and Todd Starr of Pagosa Springs.The commissioners have scheduled a special meeting for 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday to interview the finalists and hold an executive session to discuss the candidates. They may take action to select their preferred candidate later that day or in their regular meeting the following Monday, May 2.

Carlson is a private practice attorney with the firm Carlson, Carlson and Dunkelman in Frisco. He serves as the municipal court judge for the city of Black Hawk and the town of Frisco, and is the city prosecutor for the city of Leadville municipal court.His practice has focused on planning and zoning, business, real estate and municipal law. He manages a staff of eight people and a budget of $1.2 million.Carlson started his law career in Michigan after earning a law degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. From 1974 to 1984, he clerked for two state Supreme Court justices, worked as an assistant public defender, and then served as an assistant attorney general. He then entered private practice, first in Michigan and, starting in 1989, in Colorado.In addition to practicing law, he also taught business law as an adjunct professor for Regis University in Denver and Colorado Mountain College in Breckenridge.

Gorgey is the first assistant county attorney for El Paso County, and has worked in the county attorney's office since 2002, where he is responsible for a staff of 24 and an annual budget of $2.5 million in the county attorney's civil and human services divisions.He serves as general counsel to elected officials in El Paso County, has litigated cases in state and federal court and has handled legal work in land use and planning, employment, special districts, contracts, property tax valuation, elections, tax liens, code enforcement, open meetings, public records and ethics.Gorgey earned a law degree from the University of South Carolina after a short career in corporate sales. He taught business law for the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs while working as a deputy district attorney, where he served as the lead attorney in 135 trials. Gorgey spent two years in private practice before taking his present position.He served as a vice president of the Colorado Bar Association in 2007-08, and was the president of the El Paso County Bar Association.

Smith is a private practice attorney in the Glenwood Springs office of the firm Garfield & Hecht PC. His current practice focuses on local government, land use and real estate law. He serves as legal counsel for local governments in Eagle, Garfield and Mesa counties, and he has represented private sector clients in matters before the Garfield County commissioners.While earning his law degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder, Smith spent a summer at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, studying constitutional law under U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. After graduation, he clerked for a Denver District Court judge, spent two years in private practice in Golden and then worked as an assistant county attorney in Adams County. In that position, he specialized in land use, planning, human resources and legal issues affecting the sheriff's department. He spent two more years in private practice on the Front Range before joining Garfield & Hecht in 2007.He has served as an adjunct professor of political science for Colorado Mountain College and is a mentor for the Roaring Fork Pre-Collegiate Program in the Roaring Fork School District.

Starr has served as the county attorney for Archuleta County since 2009, where he manages a staff of two and a budget of $250,000. He previously worked as the county attorney for Dolores County at Dove Creek.In his work for Archuleta County, he focuses on advising the county commissioners, planning commission and elected officials on issues related to contracts, land use, county roads, medical marijuana, property taxation, and oil and gas development. He helped the county reach treaty agreements with the Southern Ute Tribe regarding taxation of oil and gas facilities.Starr earned his law degree from Creighton University in Omaha, and worked in private practice for 10 years, in Omaha, Morrison and Cortez, handling family law, business, real estate and entertainment clients.He is a past vice president of the Colorado Bar Association, has provided pro bono legal service to a variety of community nonprofits, and represents Archuleta County on the Region 9 Economic Development board of directors.

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The Post Independent Updated Apr 27, 2011 01:08AM Published Apr 27, 2011 01:06AM Copyright 2011 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.