King: Fired 
by sheriff 
for conduct

Sen. Steve King

Stan Hilkey

Rebecca Spiess

Republican candidate for Mesa County sheriff and state Sen. Steve King says he was dismissed earlier this month from a part-time job at the Sheriff’s Office over what he described as an act of “insubordination.”

“I walked out of a meeting,” an apologetic King told The Daily Sentinel on Thursday. “You put your supervisor in a really bad position. You just don’t do that.”

Asked if he was fired by former Mesa County Sheriff Stan Hilkey, King replied, “I was told my services were no longer needed any further in reference to that job.”

A former sheriff’s investigator, King was elected to the Colorado House in 2006 and hired in 2007 in the capacity of a part-time, hourly wage employee of the Sheriff’s Office performing audit and compliance work.

Hilkey, a three-term sheriff who left June 13 as Colorado’s new director of public safety under Gov. John Hickenlooper, said Friday he couldn’t discuss a Mesa County personnel matter unless King signed a release allowing disclosure.

Hilkey did say, “I’m glad he’s talking about it.”

Mesa County Sheriff Rebecca Spiess, who, according to King, was in attendance earlier this month along with Hilkey during the meeting in question, said she couldn’t confirm or deny King’s account for reasons articulated by Hilkey.

King on Friday said he’s willing to sign a release. He later sent an email statement:

“After my 15 years of service at the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office, the Undersheriff (Spiess, at the time) questioned what she mistakenly felt was a reporting error by me in the amount of $390 for contract law enforcement services,” the statement said.

“I have an exemplary record within the department and felt deeply offended that my integrity would be questioned in such a manner,” King’s statement continued. “Following a spirited discussion in which I expressed those feelings, I decided to leave the meeting without the permission of the Undersheriff, and my contract was ended.”

King’s statement continued: “Understanding that this is the political silly season, I wanted to reassure the citizens of Mesa County I have never done, and will never do, anything to compromise my integrity or do anything but be completely forthright with them on any issue, no matter how large or small.”

King said he mailed $390 to the Sheriff’s Office “as a show of good faith until this matter is resolved.”

King on Thursday told the newspaper the meeting in question involved Hilkey and Spiess, and was punctuated by a “disagreement” between the parties. The meeting concerned “paperwork related to hours at the jail and patrol” and an “honest mistake.”

The meeting was on June 5 and he was dismissed in a face-to-face meeting with Hilkey the next day, King said.

“The timing for my inappropriate behavior couldn’t have been worse,” he said, adding he was “embarrassed” by the affair.

“I’m going to get pounded,” he said.

Does he still enjoy Hilkey’s support in the race to be Mesa County’s next elected sheriff?

“You’re going to have to ask Director Hilkey that,” King said.

Hilkey did not reply to a text message query on that point.

Records obtained by the Sentinel show a full week went by before sheriff’s employees were told of King’s departure.

The Sentinel on Friday was provided under the Colorado Open Records Act a department-wide email sent at 12:43 p.m. on June 13. That was Hilkey’s last day on the job and Spiess’ first as sheriff.

“Effective 06/06/14, Steve King is no longer employed by the MCSO,” employees learned June 13. “We wish him well in his future endeavors!”

Mesa County’s primary election is Tuesday.

Records show 13,664 ballots were returned between the date of King’s confirmed departure and Friday.


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Senator King, please stop the self congratulations over your handling of this matter. Real Integrity announces this the second it happens, particularly when it would influence the outcome of the Race you are in.

I mean you are fired by the very agency you want to lead right when the ballots come out and yet you wait to the end of the voting period to announce it. That is not integrity, that is cowardice.

I think the voters of Mesa County deserved to know this. While it would not have changed the votes of those who hand picked you, it certainly would have changed the outcome of your race.

Explain to me how I am supposed to trust you with a $24 Million budget when you screw up simple expense account transactions.

Explain to me how anyone can trust you in any position of Authority. Your ability to lead will be forever clouded by this.

Your firing leaves more questions to be asked. If this occurred on 6/6 why wouldn’t Stan Hilkey be the one firing you? and a Question for Stan and Riecke, do you still endorse the man who has been fired from your department?

Question for the Sheriff’s Department. Why was this not announced immediately? By your actions you have illegally changed the outcome of this election. There should be more firings than Steve King’s over this.

Finally a Question for the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. Where the heck is your reporter? A Candidate gets fired from the very department he wants to lead and not even a whisper? Time to hand in your Journalist Cards.

Clearly all of this was purposely done to make sure that John Pennington would not win the election, which certainly would have been the outcome had this story broke on June 6.

Mesa County Republicans, you must be so proud of your Board’s Hand Picked Man of Integrity.

Well well stated Mr Mccarney.KIng is ON the payroll DURING his time as state senator? Kinda like when Camper arrived as police chief and “he didn’t want the job permanently” and was being paid, according to the Daily sentinel, by two departments at the SAME TIME. He has now been here for what? 6-7 years? 13,664 ballots turned in during this time. How convenient. I keep saying as long as we keep bowing down to these crooked good ol boys and girls this is what we get. Remember when we voted hilkey an additional term and did away with term limits? It was during a mid-term or some other mid term election cycle and it got eased on through. Election is OVER by the time King’s “signed release gets put through. How convenient? Next we’ll hear that all of the emails were lost due to computer crash. Airport board CANNOT/WILL NOT pay their bills. Yes indeedy them good ol boys.

By the by Sentinel why couldn’t you find out the bonus’ paid to our VA? Like the sheriff’s department I assume it “is a personnel” issue? Pfffft.

In my humble opinion, Mr. King should resign from this election race, allow Mr. Pennington to be elected without opposition.

Mr. King has been called on the carpet for cheating before.

Apparently his streak of greed runs deep enough to allow him to deceive, mislead and outright lie to get along in life.

Mr. King is a disgusting individual with no moral values, no sense of wrongdoing or apology, no sense of shame for his offenses.

Mr. Kings divorce is now something that should come under greater scrutiny.

Is this what we can expect from our Republican leadership here in Mesa County. Is Lois Dunn the current Chair for the Party commenting? Why is she allowing the truth to be hidden from the public? This smacks of Jared Wright all over again. A rogue candidate who’s misdeeds are swept under the carpet until the election is over and won by the party. Great!

We need a new leadership in the Republican Party. It is now apparent the current leaders are not capable of being honest, and are themselves guilty of dirty politics.

RESIGN NOW! Both King and Dunn.

Your misdeeds are now showing the population who you are.

Steve King, this part of my note is to you.  I like you as a person and wonder why you continue to allow yourself to be exposed to abuse over “inappropriate” behaviors that you insist do not represent your integrity.  Between your less than stellar performance as a State Representative and Senator and your career as a law enforcement officer, when I first met you, you were still the “cop.”  You liked being a “cop” and maybe that is really the path of your happiness.  This path has cost you dearly….your marriage, your daily interaction with your kids, your now past career?  If you were my best friend I would say to you…Follow the path of your happiness, for we are not placed on this Earth to be miserable, but miserable we will be if we chose to follow a path based on money or power.
To Pat Arotin, I say to you…if you think you will avoid Steve King’s fate, you are fooling yourself.  You are young, you have a good career with the Sheriff’s Office, you have a beautiful family and a great wife who supports you.  All this will be under attack.  If you like living here, if your happiness is supported by living here, then look to the core of your life and ask if you want to risk all that you now have.
To those reading this, in November you will have more choices than just the two primary challengers.  What this county needs is a Sheriff with vision and proven years administrative and public service experience.  As a Registered Nurse I have been all of that and more.  I am a Registered Republican, but determined the party as manipulated here is not in line with my political philosophies.  I run as an unaffiliated and have not asked for money or endorsements, as I want to be free of preconceived expectations.  Any monies or endorsements that may come my way will not accepted if strings are attached.  Honesty in regards to public safety and health of the community have always been a path of my happiness.  I believe in our community.

I agree with most of what has been posted here, except for a few points.

First, the Colorado Constitution envisions a “Citizen Legislature.”  Legislators are paid for 120 days of work, plus per diem and mileage to and from the session on weekends.  That salary last year was $30,000, plus $183/day in per diem for those who live farther than 50 miles from Denver ($45/day for those who live closer).  That’s not a lot of money, particularly for rural legislators who must rent a place in Denver.  Unless you either want a full-time legislature or you want only rich people to be able to serve (both of which I consider to be very bad ideas), our Legislators are going to have another job 8 months per year.

Second, in defense of the Sentinel, would any of this have come out but for their open-records request?  I’m relatively sure that King wasn’t going to volunteer the information.

Third, to the writer who suggested scrutinizing King’s divorce, absolutely not.  You can disagree with someone on ideological or philosophical grounds without dragging their family through the mud.  There’s too much mudslinging politics already; there’s no need to splatter family members.  King’s wife is not running for anything.

Mr. D’andrea, I’m not sure how well off you are, but $50,000 a year is a lot of money to people here on the western slope for three months of work. I’m sure a legislator would like to have a second job, and make much more money. What’s your point? Are you saying he shouldn’t be fired for walking out of a meeting with his boss? Until I hear from the Sheriff about the real reason for his termination, I can only speculate, I must assume his actions deserved the scrutiny he received. His actions were justifiable and defendable by the Sheriff.

What is at stake here is our next Sheriff, I do not want someone who cannot maintain his own actions to be directing mine. I believe we need a Sheriff who is above reproach, who has integrity, who tells the truth. I have yet to hear the truth from King, he should relieve the Sheriff’s office, and let them tell the public the exact nature of his firing. That would be the honorable thing to do. But, as you stated, he would not have come forth with the firing until after the election to see if he won! Why would he tell the truth now?
As to his divorce, I have no interest in exposing his wife, I have an interest in why he is separated from her.  It would lend credence to his own statement of his belief of “family values”. This person wants to represent the community as Sheriff, how can he do that if he has no moral values other than to his own agenda, his own pattern of abuses and his dedication to those he promised he would be faithful to?
It is not just King that disappoints me, it is the entire Republican leadership, THEY did not step forward and expose his firing either, shades of Jared Wright.

When are we going to kick these people off their musical chairs?

No, Mr. Fenwick, I do not think it was wrong to fire him.  Read what I wrote.  I was responding to the idea that legislators should not have other jobs for the eight months a year when the legislature is not in session.  That’s the difference between a Citizen Legislature—real working stiff being able to serve in the legislature—and having an elite ruling class.

Most of our legislators have other jobs.  You can request Personal Financial Disclosure reports for any of them from the Secretary of State’s office:

Not Frieda Cook - Am a relative - Patrick Rodgers - If nothing else, the timing of this incident is very suspect.  Of course, all the “boo birds” are out in force to kick King while he is down.  Don’t know the facts about the clerical controversy, but have worked in the business long enough to know that unintentional errors do happen quite frequently.  That is what supervisors and managers reviewing them are for. 

King was getting his butt chewed by the Sheriff and was clearly wrong to walk out of the meeting.  I think he understands that now and has apologized.  Not sure if an objective investigation was made into the clerical issue and if it wasn’t, it should have been.  That would have determined if the error was intentional or unintentional and the Sheriff might have been able to better handle the encounter with Mr. King.  When you cut through all the political B/S it still boils down to no other candidates, other than King who are qualified for the job as Sheriff.  If the citizens elect Pennington, then they should expect law enforcement by a non-porfessional amateur and not complain when the services of the Sheriff’s Department reflect that quality.  Not that it matters, but sorry folks, I still support Steve King for the job.

TO; Not Frieda Cook - Am a relative - Patrick Rodgers,
From previous postings, I understand you do not live here in Mesa County but own land here. When you’re eligible to vote, your remarks will surely be welcome, but as you said in another posting, you have the right to post as much as any other, I would like to see you at least pay the Sentinel for your edition that would give you the right to post for sure.
But, from one “boo-bird” to a non voting freeloader, pay for the right to post, move here and vote, then your opinion will be welcome.

Ralph D’andrea: Actually this information was public knowledge because of a CORA request by Vet The Government over a week ago.

The reason the Daily Sentinel released the article is because Senator King chose to announce it on his own Facebook/Website pages. The Denver Post was also working on a similar angle.

Rumors of Kings troubles have been around for a week or more. There are also rumors of an ongoing Internal Affairs Investigation. This does not happen for just clerical reasons, Patrick Rogers.

Again I ask the question, how can you expect to lead the agency that has just fired you? What kind of respect could you have from those employees below you?

There are other rumors swirling about this incident. Like the possibility that the firing was back dated to avoid the CORA request by Vet The Government, so that the full details would not be public knowledge during the election. Why did it take the Sheriff’s Office 7 days to respond to the CORA req1uest by Vet The Gov, when they are required by law to respond within 72 hours?

Without the efforts of Vet The Gov, this might never have come to light.

This whole incident smells. There are more shocks to come.

Not-Freida Cook. First you say the “timing is suspect.” Then you follow with the “bbo-birds.” DUH. How is it that you know so much? If King is such a hero then why did he not make this public on 6 Jun 2014 (the day it happened)? I say it was so more votes could roll in.

MY WIFE IS ONE OF THOSE SO CALLED “OVERPAID” TEACHERS. She makes far less than that amount.

Ms. Phillips your statement concerning vocations should be a pplied to you as well. Your obvious calling is in nursing and not law enforcement. I do NOT consider you a HERO for not soliciting. I am sure that received more than enough money in the Middle East. Tax free at that. I am glad you believe in community as for me I DO NOT BELIEVE IN YOU (Registered Republican running unaffiliated?). Easily fixed.

Mr D’andrea my negative comment about the Sentinel was for their LACK of including GJ VA hosp. (another article) information concerning bonus’ paid locally.

Where can I meet to hear “the rumors” for a week or so. Are there clandestine “meet and greets?”

Mr. Sanders, much of the real media investigations are happening on line.

Check out or Mesa County Patriots and Barkin Up the Right Tree on facebook.

You lost me. I do not get paid as a reporter that can spend days and days. I do NOT have the time nor want to. It seems that King would/should have been more forthcoming on ^ Jun. The printed press seems to be the most expeditious. As for the VA if’n I could find out where to look I would look for myself. I am in my infancy as to CO Open Records as well as Freedom of Information. I am currently in training on both regards.

Thanks Kevin. I went to and find it quite revealing. Seems like them good ol boys, including Camper, have us buffaloed. Thanks again.

Jerry I find the spreading of your attentions over all the respondents to this article so communist of you….share everything with everybody.  Thank you.

You don’t believe in me…I assure you I do exist.

Kevin thank you for sharing the website address information. I did get a rambling copy about King’s dilemma with the Sheriff’s office. So your take on this story is timely in more ways than one.

I do believe this is still America. Communist? Hmmmmm. I find you boring, unqualified and your use of free vote seeking on this site simply pathetic and juvenile. Who in hell are you to espouse that crap?

Sorry Jerry ... did I push a button? Try not to pretend to be over righteous.  Take a hint from King’s predicament and try to learn a lesson about thinking you have cornered the market on rightness.  There are a lot of people in this valley who don’t come close to thinking like you.  Breakdown of the community is when you don’t share.  You’re doing good actually you just have to stop being rude so people take you more seriously.

I really could care less. You certainly do not qualify to lecture me. The self appointed elitist that you are. Obviously you nerve got hammered when I pointed out your childish attempt at being a Republican yet running as unaffiliated.  You knew for damned sure you were NOT even gonna be an afterthought. Funny how you encourage King to follow his calling yet you and your middle east money do not follow your own advise. How can I say this so you finally get it. You have not one thing that I come close to admiring. Calling someone communist isn’t rude? I will no waste anymore of my time trying to explain my messaging method to you. It appears that your density far exceeds the rest of us. Sit down. Close your mouth. Breathe deep. Rethink your juvenile attack and political davvy. We have already seen the Joe Liberman style.

Once again the local GOP establishment brings us truly bottom-of-the-barrel candidates. This has been going on for decades, and has made Mesa County the laughing stock of the state. It’s time to give new, non-GOP establishment people chances to hold local offices in this area. Benita Phillips is fast becoming the best and only real choice for Mesa County Sheriff.

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