JT Romatzke has a new job title that comes with the same pay as his previous position as Northwest regional manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
Romatzke is transferring from that job after an internal investigation earlier this year found that he acted inappropriately in connection with CPW’s ongoing work to implement the voter-mandated introduction of wolves into the state. The investigation was undertaken after Randy Hampton, at the time a public relations official working for Romatzke in Grand Junction, told authorities Romatzke worked to inhibit implementation of Proposition 114, the wolf reintroduction measure, including through efforts to cast some wildlife commission members in a negative light.
In early September, CPW Director Dan Prenzlow told agency employees in an email that Romatzke would be transferring to a special assignment and reporting directly to Prenzlow, but did not identify Romatzke’s new job.
Chris Arend, spokesman for the state Department of Natural Resources, told The Daily Sentinel Romatzke’s new title is shooting range and real estate development manager. His pay is $11,239 a month, unchanged from when he was regional manager, Arend said.
Officials have yet to elaborate publicly on what Romatzke will be doing in his new job. So far the state has not released Romatzke’s written job description to The Daily Sentinel under a Colorado Open Records Act request because it is still in a draft form. Romatzke has not yet started in his new job; he had gone on personal leave before Prenzlow announced his reassignment and CPW spokeswoman Lauren Truitt said she heard he should be back later this month.
She indicated she didn’t think she’d have details about his job duties until Prenzlow can go over them with Romatzke.
She said she anticipates his job will continue to be based out of Grand Junction but isn’t sure.
Romatzke has considerable experience on the shooting-range front. He played an instrumental role in the years-long effort to get CPW’s Cameo Shooting Range and Education Complex outside Palisade opened, which occurred in 2018. Romatzke was CPW’s area wildlife manager locally before being promoted to regional manager in 2017.
Romatzke was placed on administrative leave during the investigation earlier this year into the concerns raised by Hampton. It found no direct corroborating evidence to support allegations that Romatzke worked in his professional capacity in opposition to implementing wolf reintroduction. But it concluded that Romatzke “acted inappropriately;” violated administrative direction; compromised trust between him, Parks and Wildlife and the Department of Natural Resources; and took action that could be construed as questionable, helping third-party organizations mobilize opposition to Gov. Jared Polis, after Polis suggested that CPW accelerate wolf reintroduction so that it occurs earlier than the ballot measure's deadline of the end of 2023.
Hampton quit his CPW job after he was told following the investigation’s completion that he had to return to work under Romatzke.
(A previous version of this story mischaracterized the position of Gov. Jared Polis on wolf reintroduction. While Polis has recommended that Colorado Parks and Wildlife move quickly on wolf reintroduction so as not to be up against a December 2023 deadline for doing so under a voter-passed reintroduction measure, he didn't take a position on the measure itself. Polis "has urged CPW to keep fidelity to the voters who voted for wolf reintroduction. CPW and the state of Colorado need to uphold the will of the voters," his spokesman, Conor Cahill, said.)