Democrat Manzanares joins race for county recorder
A former employee of the Mesa County Clerk and Recorder’s Office is running for the office’s top position.
Jennifer Manzanares, a Grand Junction Democrat, filed in late March to become a candidate for Mesa County Clerk and Recorder. She is running against incumbent Republican Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Sheila Reiner in the November 2014 election.
Manzanares worked for the Clerk and Recorder’s Office from spring 2007 through summer 2010, when the county gave her a letter proposing her dismissal as an administrative assistant in a team leadership position in the Elections Division. The letter, signed by Reiner, alleged Manzanares withheld information about a primary election and that it was taking her supervisor, Elections Director Catherine Lenhart, too much “time and effort” to monitor her.
Manzanares quit rather than be fired and filed for unemployment benefits, which the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment approved. The county appealed the decision to both the state’s Industrial Claim Appeals Office and the Colorado Court of Appeals but the decision to award benefits was upheld both times. The Court of Appeals ruling refuted the county’s claim that Manzanares withheld any information about the primary election, saying instead she “was discharged because she did not have the communication or leadership skills that employer wanted for this position.”
Manzanares mentions her time at the county but not how it ended in an “About Jennifer” section on her campaign website, http://www.jennifermanzanares.com. She also lists experience as a medical office secretary, billing and collections specialist and payroll specialist and lists her current occupation as payroll and billing specialist for Grand Valley Appliance.
Also on her site, Manzanares says she is running for Clerk and Recorder because “the community deserves someone that cares about what other people’s opinions are, and someone who cares about them personally.”
“As a former Mesa County Elections Office Coordinator I have inside knowledge on the inner workings of the Clerk and Recorder’s office, and will use this knowledge to better serve the community,” she said on the site.
Manzanares did not respond to a call for comment Thursday.