Sheriff: Offensive e-mail was written by county employee

An e-mail that used a vulgar term in criticizing Mesa County Commissioner Craig Meis and the commission’s would-be pick for the county administrator job was sent by a county employee, Mesa County Sheriff Stan Hilkey announced Friday.

An investigation conducted by the Sheriff’s Department and the county’s Information Technology Department determined the e-mail was sent by a county employee, not a Sheriff’s Department employee, on a Sheriff’s Department computer, according to a statement released by Hilkey.

Hilkey said the employee has authorized access to the Sheriff’s Department. He declined to identify the employee.

The Sheriff’s Department has turned the investigation over to the county administration “for their determination as to a final outcome,” the statement said.

“We’re going to look into the matter further,” county spokeswoman Jessica Peterson said. She declined to comment further.

The e-mail, which was sent Wednesday to all county employees, referred to a Colorado State Parks report that Meis raised his elected position and his acquaintance with District Attorney Pete Hautzinger when Meis received a $52 ticket in June for allowing his 14-year-old son to operate a watercraft at Highline Lake State Park.

The e-mail read:

“‘I am a County Commissioner.’”

“‘I know Pete Hautzinger.’”

“It appears the State boys are not impressed by your local fiefdom.

“No wonder you have no problem shoving a County Administrator at us that has no ethics when you yourself have none. Birds of a feather.


After receiving the ticket, Meis used his county e-mail account to complain to Mike King, director of the Department of Natural Resources, and copied the e-mail to several state and local elected officials.

He was convicted at trial last month and ordered to pay a $78 fine.

He has denied raising his position with the parks officer and said he was merely protesting what he considered a “frivolous” ticket.


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