Dear Editor:

I have a suggestion for Archuleta County to aid with the looming financial cutbacks. First and foremost, all managerial staff making more than the sheriff should be the first to go. No contract, buyouts, no golden parachutes. Simple downsized like the rest of America. By eliminating those overpaid positions, we can afford to keep the people who actually work and provide services to the community. There is historical reasoning behind this approach. The sheriff historically was the highest paid elected official in the county because a primary duty was tax collection enforcement. No county employee should be paid more than the elected officials because we have no way to get rid of them if they are not elected. I believe this is a topic of discussion that needs to start; all government employees work for We the People.

If the county commissioners, clerk and assessor have an annual compensation of $55,000 plus benefits, why are the county treasurer and county administrator receiving nearly $20,000 more than these other elected officials? The county attorney is bringing down more than double the elected officials because he is a private contractor. The finance director, public works director, human services director, airport manager, building inspector, child protection caseworker II, deputy clerk III and detention captain are all compensated higher than our elected officials. There are several of these positions that if these people were downsized two people could be hired in their place and we could get real services for what we are paying in taxes.

Under the Colorado Constitution, the general assembly cannot pass laws that interfere with the county. That being said, there are several items on the county budget that are not mandated by the state, yet we pay for these items and they have no sunset timeframe and do not get reevaluated before refunding.

The people who would be downsized will not like it, but it is time for a reality check. I don’t know, neighbors, what do you think? Most of the people I know make quite a bit less than these folks I’m referring to in this letter.

Fed up and overtaxed,

Greg Giehl

This story was posted on May 2, 2013.