County official fired, escorted out by deputies
A longtime Mesa County supervisor was fired this week, continuing a shake-up within the management levels of the county.
Mark Reitz, director of purchasing and risk management and a 19-year county employee, was terminated Wednesday and escorted out of the county courthouse by sheriff’s deputies.
Reitz, who made $81,636 annually, didn’t return a call seeking comment Thursday.
Interim County Administrator Tom Papin declined to comment on Reitz, other than to say he no longer works for the county and his departure wasn’t a cost-cutting measure.
Reitz was responsible for buying supplies for the county, soliciting bids from contractors and vendors and issuing contracts for a variety of services.
Papin said he is in the process of reviewing the county’s procurement procedures, saying the way the county purchases goods and services varies among departments. County officials have opened discussions with Grand Junction and School District 51 to determine whether the agencies should combine their purchasing departments to gain efficiencies and boost buying power.
“We need to look at what the school district is doing, what the city is doing,” Papin said. “Are there efficiencies to be gained by working more closely and collaboratively together, whether that means we have staff meet more frequently? Does it mean we set up a purchasing authority, or does it mean one agency does all the purchasing?”
Papin said his review also is intended to ensure the county’s purchasing process is transparent and bidders know why they did or didn’t receive a contract. He didn’t directly answer when asked whether the county’s current process lacked transparency.
“I think it’s just something we as government need to be constantly looking at,” he said. “I can’t sit here and tell you that (transparency) did occur in these bids and it didn’t occur in these bids. But as part of our quality monitoring, we want to be reviewing these things.”
Reitz’s termination marks the latest change within middle and upper management at the county.
Papin last month laid off Planning and Economic Development Director Kurt Larsen in what he described as a spending reduction. Department of Human Services Director Tracey Garchar in January fired Treva Houck, director of Family and Children’s Services, and child welfare supervisors Greg Meier and Mark Neujahr as part of a makeover of the county’s child-welfare program.