County trustee Brown reluctant to move office
Mesa County Public Trustee Paul Brown had one question when pressed by Mesa County commissioners Wednesday to move his office into a county-owned building.
“I understand where you’re coming from,” Brown said of the cost advantages of county-owned facilities. Brown then asked “if the three of you collectively or individually have taken a position on Ray’s bill?”
State Rep. Ray Scott, R-Grand Junction, has said he is working on a measure to eliminate the 10 appointed public trustee posts in Colorado, including Brown’s post.
When Commissioner Craig Meis asked what one had to do with the other, Brown responded that he wanted to preserve the current system.
“If you are trying to fire me, I’m not sure I’m going to cooperate very much,” Brown said.
The commissioners said they were unsure of the status of any legislation affecting the state’s public trustees.
Brown and Commissioner Steve Acquafresca, both of whom have served in the Legislature, agreed that any measure is unlikely to gain passage this year, given the circumstances of a highly political year and a polarized Legislature.
The commissioners insisted their motivations were apolitical, aimed only at saving money.
“It’s not about having control over your office, it’s about saving money,” Meis said.The commissioners have talked regularly over recent months with Brown about moving his office in the Harris Suites, 619 Main St., into a county-owned building.
Brown, as well as his predecessor, Republican Barbara Brewer, have resisted moving from the Main Street address, citing the lack of room in the old Mesa County Courthouse.
With the opening this year of the county’s Central Services building, 200 S. Spruce St., the county now has plenty of room and commissioners said they don’t relish the idea of having empty offices in county buildings, especially those near the main entrance.
The space left when the recording offices moved to the new building is now available, commissioners noted.
Brown is paying $2,300 a month for his suite on Main Street, as well as telephone and other costs that would be picked up the county if he were to move.
Scott’s bill, which has yet to be introduced, would place the treasurers in the 10 affected counties in charge of the public trustee’s office.
Under current law, those trustees are appointed by the governor and are paid $72,000 a year to handle foreclosure auctions and other matters related to real estate transactions.