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I’m honored to have served the people of Rio Blanco County for 35 years, with the last 17 as your Road & Bridge and Landfill Director. I really enjoyed leading my great team and am proud of our accomplishments. I’ve always tried to go above and beyond to make sure county travelers are safe and our roads and bridges are in the best shape possible. I really appreciated working with the area agencies and industry. We have some incredible people in our community. I loved my job. The friendships I’ve made will last forever. I’m humbled by everyone who has reached out to me since Jan. 26 when all three county commissioners voted to not re-appoint me. I’ve even had six former commissioners contact me expressing their disbelief and sadness by my sudden termination.
I’m happy to give readers the details of the offensive way I was treated for the last six months. I have recordings, texts and notes to prove the truth. Go to my Facebook Page for the specifics.
For the sake of this letter, I’ll keep it short. To get an idea of the insulting tone directed at me by the Board, go to their meeting with Alice Harvey, County Health Director, on Feb. 9 at 3 p.m.: https://www.rbc.us/129/Agendas-Minutes.
The short version is: Roy Gilbert, Rangely District Supervisor, filed a complaint against me when I tried to impose discipline on him for legitimate work infractions. Once he filed the complaint, it seemed he was protected by the Commissioners and I was instantly treated like I was guilty and needed to be terminated even before an investigation was done.
The investigation proved I didn’t engage in intimidation toward him. In fact, Mr. Gilbert admitted that I had not done what he accused me of doing. But I still was treated like I was guilty and had to go through three or four meetings like Alice’s. I felt like I was in the twilight zone. A good portion of the meetings involved Commissioner Moyer telling me they (the commissioners) are my boss and repeatedly asking me if I could work with Mr. Gilbert. I repeatedly assured them I could.
On Jan. 14, after a long meeting between me and the three commissioners, two of the commissioners and the county attorney took me out for drinks and told me I would be reappointed on Jan. 26.
Then the commissioners decided to have meetings with the Meeker Road and Bridge crew on Jan. 18 and the Rangely crew on Jan. 19. Here’s the message Commissioner Moyer gave: “If we find out any of you have bad-mouthed anyone behind their back, you will be fired immediately on the spot.” On Monday, after the Meeker meeting, Ty Gates told me he needed to take me for a ride. He told me, “Hey buddy, the other two commissioners aren’t going to re-appoint you unless you apologize to the Rangely employees.” I asked him, “What am I apologizing for?” He said, “I don’t know.”
I wanted and needed my job. So, I apologized. The rest of the meeting went well I thought. I went back to Meeker and worked the rest of the week. I didn’t have any conversations with the commissioners after that.
Right before my reappointment on the 26th, Commissioner Gates texted me: “Hey Buddy. I learned new stuff this morning and not looking good. I will talk to you after the meeting to explain everything.” After that he voted with the other two to not reappoint me. On the 27th, he texted about voting “no”: “I did what I thought was best for what the future holds and to make sure that problems can be handled in a timely manner going forward.” So, basically, he traded our friendship — and what he knew was right — for politics. Total betrayal.
I asked him why I was not reappointed. He said because, based on a report made by Roy Gilbert, I had allegedly said something derogatory to a Rangely employee during the meeting of the 19th. Commissioner Gates was with me the whole time, so if I had said something derogatory, he would have heard it. I did not do what I was accused of, but was not given an opportunity to defend myself. They had a week to visit with me to tell me what I had supposedly done and to hear my side. They all just assumed the story was true and voted no.
Their ignorance and unfairness cost me dearly, and denied the county a loyal, valuable employee. I am hurt beyond words.
This board’s injustice and mistreatment of myself and many other employees needs to stop. This board is a detriment to our county which used to be looked up to in the state and is now an embarrassment.
For these reasons, I will pursue recalling Gary Moyer. I am thinking about placing my name on the ballot to replace him for the remainder of his 1 3/4-year term. Let’s let this board know we are fed up. My hope is I can help turn this around.
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