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BOCC unanimously approves sheriff term limit question for November ballot

By: matt steiner matt.steiner@gazette.com
September 5, 2014
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Voters will get the chance in November to decide whether the El Paso County sheriff's term limits will be slashed.

The Board of County Commissioners squeaked the final vote in Thursday, just ahead of Friday's deadline to have an issue placed on the Nov. 4 
ballot. Language for the question was approved by a 5-0 vote. If the electorate OKs the measure, the sheriff will be limited to two four-year terms instead of three.

"I have received a lot of feedback," District 1 Commissioner Darryl Glenn said. "There is a definite desire to let the people vote on this."

Glenn said in June that this year's push for the ballot initiative is the culmination of his four-year campaign to bring term-limit consistency to the county. In 2012, voters reversed a decision that extended elected county officials' terms to three. The sheriff and the 4th Judicial District attorney were the only two offices excluded from that decision.

Glenn was also lobbying for a ballot question to change the DA's term limits, but the Teller County commissioners refused to join the initiative. Teller and El Paso counties are part of the 4th Judicial District and would each have to approve a ballot question.

"Teller County has expressed the desire not to put it on the ballot," Glenn said, noting that each of the members of the El Paso commission have been in contact with the three Teller commissioners since the question had its first reading July 1.

Dave Paul, chairman of the Teller County Commissioners, said in early July that he would "just as soon get rid of term limits altogether."

Glenn and the El Paso County Attorney's Office each agreed before Thursday's meeting to withdraw the second reading of the DA term limits question from the agenda.

Bill Elder, who will likely replace sitting El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa, said in June that he supports allowing the people decide on term limits. Elder is a deputy chief with the Fountain Police Department and will run unopposed for sheriff in November.

Maketa, who has been the focus of a workplace misconduct investigation since May, will likely finish his third and final term on Jan. 13. The commissioners had called for the sheriff's resignation shortly after the investigation began. Maketa is accused of sexual improprieties, creating a hostile work environment, discrimination and removing almost all oversight of the Sheriff's Office annual budget. The commissioners said in late May that the investigation into at least nine claims by employees against the sheriff would be a distraction and keep Maketa from running his office efficiently.

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Contact Matt Steiner: 636-0362

Twitter @gazsteiner

Facebook:
Matt Steiner, Gazette reporter

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