Scott eyes another push for trustee law

QUICKREAD

Editor’s note: This story is part of an occasional series about bills that could be introduced during the 2013 Colorado legislative session.



The Colorado Legislature will see a bill to revamp its century-old law creating governor-appointee public trustees in the state’s largest counties.

But exactly what that measure will look like, Rep. Ray Scott isn’t quite certain yet.

During the 2012 session, the Grand Junction Republican introduced a bill to allow specific counties, including Mesa, to opt out of the law and allow the county treasurer to handle those duties, as is done in most of the state.

But while Scott is considering introducing a similar measure, he’s also looking in to the idea of allowing any of the 10 counties with governor-appointed trustees to opt out of the trustee law whenever they like.

“I don’t want to make this a mandated kind of thing for counties that just don’t want to do it,” Scott said. “That’s why I went back to the same bill I had last year.”

So far, Mesa, El Paso, Douglas and Weld counties have asked to be included in Scott’s bill.

While other counties may be added before any bill is approved, any of the other larger counties that later decide to opt out will have to get legislative approval through another bill.

Problems with the public trustees emerged over the past couple of years. A series of articles in The Daily Sentinel and Denver Post highlighting how some trustees were running their offices resulted in Gov. John Hickenlooper asking for all 10 public trustees to resign.

Those reports revealed mismanagement in several of the trustees’ offices, including allegations of double-dipping on use of automobiles, taking employees out to expensive lunches, and using public money to pay personal expenses.

Former Mesa County Public Trustee Paul Brown had arbitrarily changed the newspaper in which he was publishing foreclosure ads, doing so without notice or going to public bid.

Later, he said he would go to a public bid even though he already had signed a contract for them.

Of the 10 trustees who resigned their positions, five where reappointed.

Brown was not one of them.


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