Recall petition targets Montrose commissioners

Photo by William Woody—Duke Richardson points out wording in a petition that he and Mike Krull, background, both employees of Montrose Memorial Hospital, filed Wednesday with the Montrose County Clerk, calling for the recall of all three county commissioners. Richardson and Krull say they represent not the hospital but taxpayers, though the petition comes amid a legal dispute between the county and hospital board members over who controls the facility.

MONTROSE — A pair of Montrose Memorial Hospital employees filed a petition Wednesday to recall all three members of Montrose County’s Board of County Commissioners.

The petition says “risky and incompetent behavior” by Commissioners Ron Henderson, David White and Gary Ellis has resulted in failed leadership and fiscal irresponsibility within county government and the need to remove the commissioners.

The hospital employees, Mike Krull and Duke Richardson, delivered the petition to the Montrose Clerk and Recorder’s Office at 3:52 p.m.

If the petition is certified by Friday, the recall committee could begin collecting signatures as early as next week.

Each petition for commissioner recall reads: “The officeholder is a Moral hazard as shown by the absence of responsibility for his risky and incompetent behavior at the expense of the Citizens of Montrose County. Examples include but are not limited to, property taxes, actions against the Montrose Memorial Hospital, legal fee, excessive spending and failure of transparency.”

The recall filing comes one day after the commissioners voted 2–1 to appeal a district court decision last week granting hospital trustees the authority to govern a new lease to Montrose Memorial Hospital Inc.

Richardson said the timing is coincidental and that he and Krull do not represent the hospital but represent concerned taxpayers who have been working on a recall effort for weeks.

For the recall to go to county voters, the committee must gather more than 3,000 valid signatures from each commissioner district within 60 days.

“The allegations against me are without merit, and I’m very disappointed in the individuals who filed the petition against me for recall,” Ellis said upon hearing about the complaint. He later added, “Whatever the outcome is, God is in control.”

“I don’t know why they did it. I’m sure they had good reason,” Henderson said, adding he could not comment further until he read the petition’s complaint.

White, tending to a county office on the West End on Wednesday afternoon, said he believed the recall committee had a conflict of interest because the hospital was in litigation with the county and the committee was made up of hospital employees.

White said the recall effort grew from an earlier effort months ago, formulated in part by a pair of members of the hospital’s board of trustees.

Krull denied White’s assertion and said the recall effort was in no way connected to the hospital’s board.

In addition to having a horrid relationship between the hospital and county, the commissioners failed in their duties to protect taxpayers and tax dollars, Richardson said.

He said the commission, after tax initiatives 60, 61 and 101 failed last November, did not remove a mill levy that had been planned in case the initiatives were approved.

“They had from Nov. 2 to Dec. 13 to demonstrate relief to the taxpayer,” Krull said.

Richardson said $2 million in money slated for county infrastructure in 2011, such as road and bridge projects, instead went into the county’s general fund.

“The voters approved that for infrastructure, not for a savings account,” Krull said.

“We’re taking action. We’re not trying to get a message across. They don’t get the message. They haven’t gotten the message,” Krull said. “They’ve been given feedback. They haven’t responded to that feedback. It’s time for termination.”


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