Garfield County leadership gets lean and mean |

Garfield County leadership gets lean and mean

Fwedewick Banz
Very Special for the Pest Dependent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

APRIL FOOLS – Garfield County Commissioners recently announced more staff cuts and the possibility of restructuring the county government at an even deeper level, with the BearCat vehicle coming into play.

As of yesterday, Sheriff Stew Pressario and Public Works Director Bridgette Streate no longer hold their positions and that’s not all. Re-1 Superintendent Trudy Dapponfall’s contract ends this summer and the commissioners are eying county control of the school district.

The announcement comes on the heels of the commissioners’ sudden firing of County Manager Redd Bleu on Jan. 3. The firing was “without cause.” Afterwards, the commissioners indicated that it mostly had to do with their ongoing restructuring of county government and a desire to be more involved in day-to-day operations.

“First, by consolidating power, we will save the county thousands of dollars,” said longtime Commissioner Doc Earp. “Second, these changes are preemptive to help guard our local freedoms from the increasing power grab of a Democratic White House that keeps encroaching into our personal lives and bank accounts.”

Under the new plan, the commissioners will rotate duties as sheriff and public works director every two weeks. If the merger with the school district comes to fruition, the rotating job duties will include the superintendent position as well.

“I can hardly wait to saddle up as sheriff,” Earp said. “I’ve got an outfit picked out, my Colt .45s are polished and I’m ready to introduce bad guys to the white leather-gloved hand of justice with all its fringe hanging from the cuff.”

Earp will literally saddle up, too, when he rides his horse to his new office at the jail next week. To make that possible, the county has been working with municipalities to alter some city codes.

“They need to understand that we are the boss, and that the Board of County Commissioners runs the county,” Commissioner Ike Grosse said.

The commissioners’ plan is based on the principle that if a person wants something done right, he has to do it himself. Commissioner Baum Dooski cited this as he unveiled a prospective long-term budget that banks on the assimilation of the school district and a continued wage freeze for teachers as well as discontinued elections.

“We’ll save a lot of money by doing away with elections – the hours, personnel and material for those are always substantial,” Grosse said, who would have been up for re-election along with Earp this fall. “That will really streamline our management and help us get things done.”

Money saved from frozen salaries makes fiscal room for what commissioners plan to be a show of Garfield County’s great strength – they will carpool to their jobs and all related aspects in the BearCat, except for when Earp is on horseback. The BearCat is an armored vehicle bought by the sheriff’s department in 2008 for $236,000. Until now it has been used for the All Hazards Response Team.

“Our surplus revenue from the wage freeze will keep gas in this 18,000-pound baby’s tank,” Dooski said. “It’s a small price for keeping us safely in charge of outraged citizens.”

The group has already sampled the capabilities of the BearCat and is enthusiastic.

“We drove it right over the hot pots the other night when we saw some trespassers there,” Pressario said.

The “hot pots” is where the Hot Springs Pool dumps its water back into the Colorado River. Frequented by vagrants and hippies, it has long been an enforcement issue and a thorn in the former sheriff’s side.

“It was so great to see those dread-heads scatter!” he said. “We drove over a couple and didn’t feel a bump. Earp didn’t even spill his drink. I’m so happy some real leaders are stepping up to take charge of a place that’s been held back by reason for so long.”

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