Senator Steve King (current Sheriff candidate) suddenly resigns as Open Records request hits the Sheriff's Office!
VetTheGov's recent Open Records request to Mesa County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) regarding Steve King's recent employment beginning April 22, 2014 and now sudden resignation on June 6, 2014 have left more questions then answers of the Internal Policies of MCSO of privileged appointments made to still sitting State Senator and candidate for Mesa County Sheriff.
VetTheGov submitted the first Open Records request on June 2, 2014 and second request on June 9, 2014 requesting any internal affairs investigations, policy violations, current contract with MCSO, paystubs, and if his position was funded with federal dollars. Interesting to note that the Open Records statutes require a written response within 72 hours of receiving the request and MCSO failed to meet this time frame on the first Open Records request and the response letter was dated June 9, 2014 a full week after the initial request. Could be interesting the next time you are pulled over for a traffic violation and ask for the same pass regarding following state statutes and any penalties associated with them! WE should expect better from this agency to follow the letter of the law when they require you to do the same.
VetTheGov received the following statements regarding his employment and temporary/contract/on-call position when he is not in session:
"With regard to the hiring process, Steve King began with the Sheriff's Office on July 6, 1999. Mr. King was hired under Claussen Administration and he was subject to the hiring process in place at the time, which included application; interviews; polygraph examinations; medical, physical, and psychiatric screenings. Steve King voluntarily left full-time employment with the Sheriff's Office to serve in his elected position in the Colorado Legislature on 12/27/06; however, he retained his deputy sheriff status (unpaid) at the Mesa County Sheriff's Office and with POST. Since that time, Mr. King has been re-hired as a temporary/contract/on-call employee when the legislature was not in session. The Mesa County Sheriff's Office/Mesa County does have records (6 pages) reflecting Steve King's separation on 12/27/06; re-hire on 05/15/07; re-hire on 06/27/08; re-hire on 05/18/09; re-hire on 05/27/10; and re-hire on 04/22/14. Even though transaction records are not found, Steve King also worked in 2011 and 2013 in that same capacity."
In a June 10, 2014 letter received from the Mesa County Attorney's Office they state, "Steve King does not have an employment contract with Mesa County." It was also relayed that Steve King was being paid out of the general fund and therefore not federal funds which could of resulted in a Federal Hatch Act violation if 100% of his salary was with Federal monies. Steve King mentions on his campaign website that he helped part-time on cold case investigations, "Steve continues to work part-time for the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office investigating cold cases when he is not in Denver for the legislative session." VetTheGov wonders if any of Steve King's special appointments in the past during his legislative career might have been paid for with Federal programs cold case DNA grant monies issued to and through the state of Colorado. Very hard to prove with the new updated Hatch Act laws enacted in 2012.
VetTheGov requested any internal affairs investigation or citizen complaints against Steve King and the response was, "that information is confidential, protected information, not subject to public disclosure under CORA, pursuant to C.R.S. 24-72-204(3)(a)(II)(A)." The letter goes on to state that no record of any of these events are in his file. Wouldn't that consist of a public disclosure? Interesting note is that the same request was made to the City of Grand Junction police Department in which the City returned VetTheGov 12 total pages relating to citizen complaints and internal policy violations involving Steve King's personnel file.
Several questions arise of Steve King's legislative position and hiring during session: Why does he not have a contract with the County? Was he working for the citizens of Mesa County or the Sheriff's Office while operating in both roles at the same time? Was his legislative work for the Sheriff's Office since he always had a political appointment job waiting for him after his legislative work? Does anyone else within MCSO receive this type of preferential treatment of not having to go back through the hiring process like others waiting to get a job that have performed the recent hiring requirements? With Steve King's recent personal life meltdown, wouldn't it be safe to say a new psychological and polygraph would be required? Wouldn't this behavior create a hostile work environment? Would he have access to confidential information as both a a State Senator and his contract position within the Sheriff's Office? What about any conflict of interest with his company American National Protective Services, Inc. which is showing delinquent since May 1, 2012 on the Colorado Secretary of State website?
VetTheGov believes that Senator King is still receiving a paycheck from the State of Colorado as sitting Senator since he hasn't officially resigned from this position and to top it off he gets hired by MCSO April 22, 2014 during his current legislative session that didn't end until May 7, 2014. After the legislative session ends May 7, 2014, Steve King already being employed by MCSO, begins receiving campaign donations that appear as Legal and Political FAVORS that could be purchased with these donations, especially from those inside the Sheriff's office looking for better positions if Steve King were to be elected Sheriff.
VettheGov believes MCSO should be the most transparent government agency in the community but instead it's beginning to take the appearance of a partisan party campaign office. With multiple Federal Grant monies such as EBDM coming into this LOCAL agency with all the comply tentacles attached, the dangers become larger than ever of internal favors and cover ups, sealed protection of what should be transparent public information for all of Mesa County citizens, and any future Conflict of Interest with the local community and local political party affiliations.
Something really SMELLS in this entire transaction! Maybe it's time for more internal check ups within MCSO. Please share this story if you agree.