Mesa County official out after arrest
Mesa County landfill manager Bob Edmiston was fired Tuesday for violating county policy in connection with his arrest last week on allegations he stalked and harassed another county employee and the employee’s wife, using electronic equipment owned by the county.
County spokeswoman Jessica Peterson said county officials notified Edmiston of his termination after consulting with county attorneys and human resources officials. By Tuesday afternoon, Edmiston’s name and phone number had been removed from a list of landfill staff on the county’s website.
Peterson said Edmiston was fired for violating provisions in the county employee policies and procedures manual, although she declined to identify the specific policy. She said he did not receive any severance pay.
She said in cases of employee termination, the county notifies the employee that it is proposing to fire him or her. The employee then has two days to respond. After that period, the employee’s supervisor — in this case, Public Works Director Pete Baier — decides whether to proceed with the termination.
The firing comes six days after Edmiston turned himself in to authorities following a weeklong investigation by the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department. According to court records, investigators discovered hundreds of instances over the past eight months when, they alleged, Edmiston contacted the Road and Bridge Department employee or his wife by e-mail, text message or phone call or drove by their house. The records allege Edmiston attached a county-owned Global Positioning System to the woman’s car to track her movements, downloaded information from the GPS on a county computer and called and texted the couple on a county cell phone.
The allegations are connected to an affair both Edmiston and the woman reportedly admitted to having with each other over several years.
Prosecutors are expected to file charges against Edmiston this morning. He could face felony counts of embezzlement of public property and stalking, and misdemeanor counts of first-degree official misconduct, second-degree criminal tampering and harassment.
County officials placed Edmiston on paid administrative leave on May 18, the same day they learned about the criminal investigation, and began their own internal investigation.
Peterson said the passage of time between Edmiston being placed on leave and being fired indicates the county didn’t want to have a “knee-jerk reaction” but rather wanted to be fair and conduct a thorough analysis “before moving forward with something serious.”
Edmiston was employed with the county for 23 years. He had been in charge of the landfill as the waste management division director since 1990.
Cameron Garcia, a 10-year county employee who currently serves as the regulatory compliance manager at the landfill, has been appointed the interim waste management division director.