VetTheGov over the past few weeks has spent some time focusing on the Town of Palisade government. Palisade is one of those communities still small enough that any mishaps from within and everyone knows what happened before the story hits the local papers. Yes the rumors are still floating around town about certain town officials but no one really wants any more press since the marijuana operations have already divided the town.
VetheGov will lead off with the most recent CORA request made on Monday March 24, 2015 at 9 AM for the mayor, town manager, and town clerk's calendars from the last 12 months along with any special meetings called by the board of trustees but especially any private meetings called between the mayor and the town manager. The reason for these specific request is that the town manager and the mayor have been spending lots of time together lately and there are specific Colorado state statutes C.R.S. 24-6-401 & C.R.S. 24-6-402 that get violated when these special secret meetings occur. In addition to the open meeting statute violations the town government also missed the 72-hour window regarding the specific CORA request on open meetings. The town requires all employees to sign an Oath of Office to support the Colorado Constitution, the Constitution of the United States, and the Colorado State Statutes. It's the typical we are immune syndrome of not following the law and having unchecked power beholden to the town leaders from the board of trustees. This happens when the taxpayers within the town limits become too lazy to keep their elected in check!
Another event not on the radar was a recent poaching incident involving an elk near the secured Palisade watershed. No hunting is authorized in this area yet a dead elk was discovered this last November in which the Dept. of Wildlife were called to investigate. Cameras were installed after the fact and photos obtained pointed to Mike Littleton being seen in the photos but gave no indication he committed the crime. However public works director Frank Watt and town manager Rich Sales took the investigation into their own hands and tried to force a confession from this public works employee. Interesting that Frank Watt was involved in a DOW investigation when he himself has had a recent run in with the law. What was just a another town rumor of a DUI arrest was confirmed by VetTheGov in a CBI report obtained via the internet. Has Frank Watt been driving a town provided vehicle since the arrest? Were the board of trustees made aware of the arrest? How about the town manager knowing? Maybe the town citizens need more answers on this specific situation!
Next up are the 13 current sex offenders located in Palisade. VetTheGov located eight sex offenders registered very near Taylor Elementary School on the Colorado Bureau of Investigation website mostly for Sex Assault on a Child. One of the them even shows Taylor Elementary as their registered address. Is it no wonder the Town is having issues with repeat offenses. Here is a KKCO story of a recent arrest. http://www.nbc11news.com/home/headlines/Sex-offender-charged-with-sexual-assault-in-Palisade-220531561.html 2014 had approx. 12 re-offenses by sex offenders all from Palisade. Must be the socially progressive board of trustees mindset of creating the utopia for anything goes. Mayor pro tem Dave Edwards could very likely speak to these ideals as he is on many LGBT-GLBT boards and committees and pitched the slogan he wants to be the socially progressive voice in Mesa County when he ran for Commissioner seat back in 2012.
Since sex seems to be a theme in Palisade these days let's look at a few internal issues that have been rumored or actually had complaints filed. In 2005 a complaint was filed against former public works employee Rick Hodson in which after the investigation the entire town government were required to take sexual harassment training. What's interesting in this specific case is that the town along with their retained attorney Ed Sands has replied in a letter that these are confidential issues not to be made public. But wait aren't these the exact situations taxpayers should know about since they usually end up in lawsuits that the taxpayers are told to settle??? So much for transparency!
Moving forward to 2012 when then Chief Carrol Quarles resigned under allegations of sexual harassment. EEOC complaints filed around every corner and CIRSA is called to come in and provide an independent investigation. But are they truly independent? Well they only represent the Town of Palisade not the employee involved in the accusations. Then comes Mike Nordine to save the day in Palisade as the interim appointed police chief yet even he got caught up in the sexcapades in Palisade. Rumor on the streets were the town clerk and the interim chief were spending lots of time together in the office and away from the office. By April of 2013 the two of them both filed for divorce within 24-hours of each other and within two case numbers of each other. During these early months of 2013 the town clerk even had town police called to have her removed near town hall for being intoxicated and out of control. VetTheGov requested the cell phone records of the town clerk for the past two years in which the town pays $50.00 per month towards the personal phone yet when reviewing the phone records provided over 99% of the calls or text were redacted! Sounds like great fiscal discipline by the town manager. VetTheGov also requested emails between the town clerk and interim police chief and only seven were provided. Maybe the communications in Palisade are done using private phone text messaging but no one will ever know. The payoff for this behavior was awarded the Deputy Chief rank at the Grand Junction Police Department and continued employment as clerk in Palisade.
Fiscal discipline and servicing the taxpayers and businesses within the town lately seem to be sold out for marijuana and alcohol but only for winners in the governments eyes. But take Inari's restaurant in Palisade, Inari's sells liquor in the restaurant and needs a license to do this. In the past the town clerk has always made it very easy for Inari's to renew. Yet under the new watch of the newly appointed town clerk there was no longer this type of service provided. Inari's, due to the lack of service provided from the clerk's office, lost his license for approx. four months almost having to move the business away from the town. Inari's protested by posting a message in their restaurant business for town incompetence and was publicly called out by trustee Penny "citizen of the world" Prinster to not get his liquor license until he publicly apologized to the town and the town manager. Trustee Prinster voted no for the renewal liquor license proving the point they have the power based on emotion to pick winners and losers within their community. Listen to the brow beating here. So often businesses that pay more than their fair share of taxes must also wax the behinds of those in power in order to make a living. So it goes in the Town of Palisade.
Back in 2007 the town was handed the old high school from District 51 school board. Since then newly installed solar panels and A/C units remain unused and not connected however serviced four times annually. The building itself is used very little but for whatever fiscally conservative reasons the town continues forth with grants and expenses of a building the town loses on. But again they get to pick the winners and losers and if they are losers the more money gets thrown that way in order to save face and in order to grow the trophy building collection. In the meantime the town will continue to hear all the budget shortfalls and needed funds to continue their poor over-spending habits and audacious salaries.
Since the progressive thought has entered into the equation in Palisade it seems each and every trustee board meeting offers a needed change in either an ordinance or resolution. Each and every time this happens there is a reason behind the needed urgent change yet these changes often go unchecked. Lately it seems that marijuana and money are the main driving force behind so many of the changes. The children within these recreational marijuana retail buying locations will place many of them within school zones and within child care locations causing conflicts with federal and state laws. So remember Palisade, the trustees and town officials are only looking out for the best interest of themselves and not the kids. They will make it all sound nice and wonderful but at the end of the day watch the progressive transformation of a non-transparent government taking care of their winners and trashing the losers!
Stay tuned as more to come from the wonderful Town of Palisade non-transparent all-powerful government!
UPDATE: Received this email on 3/29/2015
Subject: Palisade not so Peechy
Message: To follow up, the town manager recently placed the Police Chief on admin leave because he was looking into all these allegations. I have to wonder if it was because he was getting to close to finding out the truth.
As a former board of trustee of the town when I asked or inquired into these allegations I was quickly informed that personnel issues where not my concern. I informed them that the town clerk and town manager was hired directly by the board. I was then informed I would be violating the sunshine laws.
Great article, I hope it goes further than a web site the common citizen doesn't know exists