Printed Letters: March 26, 2014

Havlik cynically switched parties to strengthen bid

The county coroner’s position will be contested in the next election cycle. The present coroner, Dr. Dean Havlik, is running against Dr. Robert Kurztman, the previously elected coroner.

Both are qualified, but Kurtzman has more experience and a reputation as the expert in forensic science and autopsies, the primary functions of this office. I then read Sunday that Kurtzman is being attacked by Havlik for not completing reports more than seven years ago. So, if you are not the better forensic scientist, attack your opponent as not being a good government bureaucrat.

Kurtzman is a Republican, and Havlik is a registered Democrat. But wait, recently Havlik announced he switched parties to become a Republican after being a lifelong Democrat. It is obvious why; most voters in this race would vote their political party affiliation.

So, in a general election, in a predominantly Republican county, as Mesa County is, the Republican, Kurtzman, would win the majority of Republican Party-affiliated votes and win the election; hence, Havlik’s motive for switching parties. Therefore, rather than the election to be decided in a general election, Havlik is forcing the election to be decided in the Republican primary. Then Havlik cynically stated he made the switch to give voters a “choice in the elections.” Total bull.

This might be politically wise, but what does it say about Havlik’s integrity? To switch parties to win an election (then lie about the reasons for the switch) implies no philosophical standards, no backbone and no willingness to pay a price for values.

Shouldn’t what we stand for mean more than what is personally beneficial? Is this the type of man we want as coroner, the person who makes important judgments on death investigations? I don’t believe so.

In this upcoming election in the Republican primary for county coroner, support the candidate of competence and integrity. Vote for Kurtzman.

HARMON LISNOW
Loma


County commissioners ought to investigate missing reports

As former chief deputy coroner for Mesa County, I read with great interest the recent article regarding missing files. The article left me with questions.

Robert Kurtzman, DO, the former Mesa County coroner, was quoted as saying, “I guess I’d say the obligations of coroner are to investigate death, determine cause and manner. I did that …” He is correct that he performed his duties as prescribed by Colorado Revised Statutes pertaining to a coroner’s duties. However, he completely failed in his fiduciary responsibility to ensure that individuals contracted to his office performed to the terms and conditions of that contract. He was both the coroner and the forensic services contractor, and a conflict of interest existed. Also, the county commissioners did not monitor the performance of that contract.

Hundreds of reports reportedly went uncompleted during the eight-year period. Mesa County had an estimated number of autopsies of fewer than 200 per year (168 in 2007, for example). Also, the standards set forth by the National Association of Medical Examiners required the completion of a report as an integral component of an autopsy. Therefore, if one extrapolates during the time Kurtzman was in office, considerably fewer than 2,000 autopsies were conducted. If hundreds are indeed missing, he failed to complete a sizable portion of those cases.

As a result, I wonder what liability may exist to the county for this apparent gross misconduct. Why was Kurtzman’s forensic services contract paid in full when he did not perform in kind? At what point does this become fraud when apparently Kurtzman was in breach of contract and continued to take money from county citizens without any obvious attempt to make corrections?

I urge the commissioners to look into this matter. Also, I urge all delegates to vote for Dean Havlik, MD. Havlik has demonstrated a complete responsibility to his office and deserves a third term.

R. KIM HOLLINGSHEAD
Mayer, Ariz.


Caprock should thank student, instead of dressing her down

With astonishment I read that the girl who shaved her head to support her friend who undergoes cancer treatment was told that she breaks the school dress code.

What a shame is this reaction of her educators!

Instead of being thanked for her courage and high morals, she is put down over a trifle. Now we know she did not get her high standards at this school.

WIET WILDEMAN
Cartago, Costa Rica


Republicans urged to support Bill Pitts at general assembly

As Mesa County Republican delegates go to the general assembly Saturday, I hope they remember that Gregg Palmer was on the Grand Junction Regional Airport Authority while the apparent wrongdoing was happening, which caused the FBI to make its raid.

We don’t need him in any elected position. He can’t tell right from wrong. I’d surely support Bill Pitts. He definitely knows the difference.

BARBARA CHAPLIK
Grand Junction


COMMENTS

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Mr. Lisnow I can tell you that “changing” parties is and should not be a measure of integrity.  However, as a Registered Nurse I CAN tell you that documentation is almost as important as the actual examination. The coroner must be able to tell a story through their examination of the body and its fluids.  If that story is only partially told, years later there is no cohesion of the story. That is lack of “integrity” to the victim and to the job paid for by my tax dollars.  That makes me angry.  I don’t care which party the coroner is affiliated with as long as the job is completed to its logical and terminal end.  The question is why anyone responsible for such a profound process would think that unfinished LEGAL documentation is acceptable.

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