Truden’s records come to light | PostIndependent.com
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Truden’s records come to light

District Attorney Colleen Truden’s office paid her husband’s company, Mediate It Inc., over $6,000 for six weeks of computer work that appears to have largely duplicated or assisted services performed by DeskTop Consulting Inc., which was paid $6,530 during the same six weeks, according to office billing records. That news was first reported Friday on http://www.postindependent.com. Truden told the Pitkin County Commissioners in late April that her husband, Fred, was not on office payroll. She told the Garfield County Commissioners last week that Fred Truden had only performed emergency stopgap services as a contract employee. But records show Fred Truden worked from Feb. 2 through March 15, and did everything from work on a server installation to rearrange office furniture.The Post Independent received the records from Glenwood Springs attorney Sherry Caloia, who filed an open records request with the office. “It seems like an overlap of services,” said Caloia. For example, on March 9, DeskTop billed the office to “Set up new copier.” The next day Mediate It billed the office for “Minolta Copier install.” The district attorney’s office may have paid twice for services again during the installation of a new $21,700 server. On Feb. 4, Mediate It Inc. billed the office for two hours of work for “initial server preparation.” Seven days later, Feb. 10, DeskTop billed the office for two hours of work for “Prep work for new server.”Then, on Feb. 7 and 8, Mediate It billed the office for 4.5 hours of “server software installation – initial tests,” and “secondary testing after 24-hr. run time.” On Feb. 10, 11, and 14, DeskTop billed the office for seven hours described on the company invoice as, “continue installing server,” “continue work on server,” and “continue server set-up.”Though it appears that services were duplicated, Mediate It’s invoice acknowledges that Fred Truden met with someone named Wynn, presumably DeskTop’s Mike Wynn.Former prosecutors have alleged problems with their computers began when Fred Truden started working on them.Neither Colleen nor Fred Truden returned phone calls seeking comment. DeskTop Consulting owner Bob McNutt also declined comment. For his work, Fred Truden was typically paid $50 an hour. He performed some work at the rate of $25 an hour, for nontechnical services such as four hours of “new office setup, furniture – relocation, cleanup – maintenance” on March 3.DeskTop Consulting charged $130 an hour.The problem, however, is not just duplication of services or Fred Truden being paid by the office, said Caloia. “The whole financial picture is very disconcerting,” she said. The previous administration’s technology budget for the year was around $20,000, said Caloia. Five months into her administration, Truden has spent about $35,000, which includes $9,487 paid to DeskTop since the beginning of the year, technical services performed by Mediate It and $21,700 for a new server.The office didn’t need a new server, especially with a decreasing number of staff, she said.Last week, former staff members alleged Truden made changes in the office for the sake of making changes. That is exactly what the financial reports support, said Caloia. Truden spent money on new cell phones, an e-mail service change and a switch from Microsoft Word to Word Perfect, according to expenditure reports. The biggest expense, however, was an office remodel, which cost the office $10,753. Architect C.F. Brenner first visited the office in January to come up with a plan for a remodel and expansion. Caloia questioned the necessity to expand an office that was losing staff, and the intelligence behind expanding with little experience in the office.The expansion did little to improve the office, and made the office less secure, said former deputy DA Jeff Cheney. A new entryway, though nice-looking, offers little protection from people upset with prosecutors, he said.”Nero fiddles while Rome burns,” he said, and repeated his assertion that Truden focuses on distinguishing herself from the former administration while the office’s mission of justice falls by the wayside. Contact Ryan Graff: 945-8515, ext. 520rgraff@postindependent.com


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