Editor’s note: This is submitted as a Guest Opinion in response to Mac Myers guest opinion/letter, published in a My Side on Oct. 19.
I am honored and humbled that the voters of the 9th Judicial District elected me to be their District Attorney. It is no secret you passionately fought against my election as District Attorney. It is no secret you are supporting this recall. Again, you attempt to smear my administration and me. You continue to attack me personally and professionally. I ran a solid, strong, honest campaign based upon reform. I won the election because the voters demanded reform. They chose a candidate who promised accessibility and who would listen to them. It is not coincidental that of the nine years you say you have known me, it was only during the year that I ran for office against your chosen employee that I mysteriously changed into someone I am not. Yes, in essence, my election was your referendum. No wonder you are bitter and angry.
To the 9th Judicial District voters and citizens, I promised to bring reform. I am fulfilling my obligation. Reform means change. Anyone vested in the “status quo” and business-as-usual resents change and resists its implementation. No one has experienced the extent that resistance to reform could evoke more than me. I am assaulted each day with lies, convenient fabrications and constant character assassination, all for sensationalism, personal vendetta, and political agenda.
Although they supported my opponent and openly admitted their philosophical bias, some of your employees begged me to trust them and to allow them to continue their employment. All of them promised they could be part of the new administration and willingly subscribe to reforms. I allowed people to stay in their jobs because of the promises they made to me, and because they had families to support. Several prosecutors and support staff from your administration remain with my team, serving the citizens. Some of them harbored resentment and resistance to the reforms. Two from the prior team left for other job opportunities they couldn’t resist; one left for personal reasons; and the remaining two quit because of personal and political agendas. Some of those individuals then began offensive, nasty and malicious attacks against me and this office, just shortly after I was sworn-in.
Our team of dedicated professionals is prosecuting more criminals, handling more cases, helping more victims and improving relationships with our law enforcement partners, in spite of the constant attack of lies and distortions, fueled and promoted by some in the local print media. Our office now is more efficient, better-equipped, preserving data integrity previously not protected, and more responsive to the needs of law enforcement.
With my leadership, we have made these reforms improving the office and doing so within our yearly budget, all while paying liability carried over from your administration. Our office is through 75 percent of the fiscal year, but has spent only 73 percent of the budget.
We are putting more bad guys away this year and we are bringing more new felony cases. Felony cases are up district wide 57 percent over last year. Our office filed 706 new felony cases between Jan. 1 and Sept. 30; compared to the 451 cases you filed during the same time last year, (a 70 percent increase in Garfield County, 43 percent increase in Rio Blanco County, and 4 percent increase in Pitkin County). We are doing a better job working with law enforcement to make the streets safer.
Although there are several grounds for protesting the recall petition of which I have become a target, I will not mount such a protest, thereby allowing the voters to resolve this issue before any more taxpayer time and money is wasted on this baseless, petty attack.
I ran on a promise of New Leadership and Fresh Voice. People voted for me for reform and change; they did not want “business as usual.” We continue to improve and reform the office and fulfill my promise to the voters. There are those, like you, who for your own personal and political agenda, want to silence the voice of the people. I remain confident the citizens and voters support my efforts. I am confident the voters, as they learn the truth and facts about the District Attorney’s Office, will vote “no” on the recall. I want my team to be able to move on so we can fully concentrate on serving the citizens of the 9th Judicial District.
Colleen Truden is the District Attorney for the 9th Judicial District.
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