Letter: Ask questions, and you’ll get answers

I have sent a letter to Ken Borchard regarding these questions. How and why is our county housing employees? Who is paying for the homeowner’s liability insurance? Is there renter’s insurance on this home? Who accepts the liability if something unfortunate were to happen? Who is paying for this property to be maintained, and repairs? How are taxes handled? How is this a best use of the property? What was the amount paid for this property? By renting it, is it making money? Is it offsetting the price of that property? Is this house being rented for a comparable price of other like houses?
Next questions. While looking into the Colorado Gas and Oil Commission Web site, I see that our natural resource specialist is also the county’s CGOCC officer. I have asked if this is not a conflict of interest? I have asked if this additional position also comes with an extra paycheck? My personal concern is you have a state organization that appears to restrict oil and gas development. We have a county-held position that should be looking out for jobs, and progress of oil and gas. How do these two merge and represent the best interest of this county in one person? I question if there is conflict with combining these two jobs. Take a look at the amount of permits required by Rio Blanco County. Go to Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission’s home page, look under local government and type in Rio Blanco County. It will show all the permits of past and present. There is also a location on this Web site that show what permits are required. Take a look and compare to other areas in Colorado.
My next set of questions were these. In another letter to our planning department I have asked the following: There was (past tense) a link on the Web site to post meeting minutes. When you click into that site, it was blank. I wrote and asked where those minutes were archived. In a letter back, I was told there they were not posted, and if I had any concerns I could come down, and take a look at what they had. My question is, in today’s world with the Internet, why not use this link? Many other states and counties use this with the permit process, and meetings. Why couldn’t this information be scanned and posted for the majority of the public? I asked about the process of seeing what permits that were in the review process, and where they were at in the process? I was told again, that this is only posted in the paper, and if I had questions I could come and take a look. Again, I ask the question why is this so hard? Why not have a post on the Internet of where plans are in the review process? Why not have a standardized setting via the Internet? This makes for accountability, and transparency, isn’t that the purpose of government? Do they not work for the public? Why not use something easy, accessible, and for the whole public to view at their convenience, not just those who work in the office? Not everyone works county hours.
I had some other questions that I posed to Mr. Borchard. These are in regards to the hiring practices of the county, and questions on positions held. I will also add, at this point, I do respect the majority of those who work there. They have great concern for their county, and they put in tremendous time and effort to do thankless jobs. I still have questions. Do employees have a job description that not only spells out what the job is for the county position? What are the requirements of keeping that job? Is it signed, dated, and witnessed? What is the criteria of dismissal? Why are these job descriptions and requirements not posted on a Web site? I ask this because the public, and taxpayers, are paying these wages … they should know what those requirements are. This is also for protection and accountability for employees of the county. What are the hiring policies? It appears that there is no nepotism clause for the past few years. Could resumes up for review be viewed by the public on a person who is hired? We too need to know that the best person filled that position. Or, is it what it appears to be? You must have a relative, or a good friend to get a job with the county or city? How often are reviews held? How often are EEOC required classes taken by county and city employees? What about OSHA training, who holds the OSHA cards? We do have construction going on and it is required of other contractors by state and federal regulations. What is the training offered to our employees, and how can we support them in additional training? This too could be posted on a Web site.
If you’re happy with the way things are and don’t find a need to question, then don’t. If you are of a like mind, then write a letter, ask your question, and get answers. No change takes place without people pushing for it.
Get involved, ask questions, ask for the change you want to see. You pay the bills, but without a voice it means nothing. I have been invited to a meeting with the building department to review my questions in a face-to-face meeting. I plan to do this, and will keep those interested posted.
Michelle Hale
Meeker