In a hastily called public hearing late Tuesday by the Mesa County Board of Commissioners regarding who should oversee the county’s elections, commissioners said they preferred former Secretary of State Wayne Williams over former clerk and now Treasurer Sheila Reiner, both Republicans.

The county’s three commissioners — Janet Rowland, Cody Davis and Scott McInnis — said they, and not Secretary of State Jena Griswold, have the authority to name a new “designated election official” to oversee elections.

On the advice of newly named County Attorney Todd Starr, commissioners said that authority rests with them, something Griswold disputes.

Commissioner Scott McInnis said the county is prepared to go to the mat over its position. “We can either get rolled over by doing nothing by the secretary of state, or we could take this to an immediate impasse,” McInnis said. “We’re saying we have the authority, she’s saying they have the authority. We feel strongly about that case, and we are prepared ... to stand tough.”

The commissioners took little time in approving a resolution naming Williams as their designated elections official.

Williams told The Daily Sentinel on Tuesday that he’s already been retained by the Mesa commissioners, but was not specific about his role. Williams, who lost his job as secretary to Griswold in 2018, currently is in private practice. Now, he is the senior adviser to the Phoenix-based Runbeck Elections Systems, an elections printing company that doesn’t directly compete with Dominion Voting Systems, which Mesa and all but two Colorado counties use.

The commissioners convened the public hearing to take comments from voters about the issue surrounding Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters, and the person that Griswold named to oversee elections for the time being.

Specifically, the meeting was called to discuss Griswold’s Tuesday announcement that Reiner was being appointed to temporarily oversee elections, at least while state and criminal investigations continue into embattled Clerk Tina Peters and her alleged actions in numerous election security breaches.