030221-news-folsom

Amy Folsom

El Paso County Administrator Amy Folsom, who next month will celebrate her two-year anniversary in the role, is to retire this summer, officials announced in a news release Monday.

County officials expect Folsom’s last day to be in August or September, spokesman Ryan Parsell said by email. The Board of County Commissioners, which directly appoints the administrator, will solicit applicants to fill the role in the coming months, the news release stated.

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“The timeframe will help ensure the board can take their time making their decision and have time for a proper handoff,” Parsell said.

Folsom is paid about $213,000 a year, oversees around 1,500 county employees, and helps guide and carry out policies set by the county commissioners, she and Parsell said.

Folsom, whose age was not available, became county administrator in April 2019, replacing Henry Yankowski in the role after his retirement. Folsom's immediate focus was leadership development, she said at the time.

“Our county is so large and it plays a massive role in the community,” she said by phone Monday. “I felt it was important to harness leadership and set a strategic course for the county, along with the commissioners and (the county) executive leadership team.”

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020, her concentration was largely on the county’s response to the spreading disease, she said.

“In the early days and weeks of the pandemic, we understood that, as a county, we could not shut down," Folsom said. "I’m so proud of how our folks revamped services in a matter of weeks. We kept the doors open."

Her retirement caps a 25-year career with El Paso County.

Folsom first served in the Fourth Judicial District Attorney’s Office as deputy district attorney from 1996 to 2005 and then worked as the assistant district attorney from 2005 to 2009.

She said her most impactful work during her time in the District Attorney’s Office included helping convict Timothy and Deborah Nicholls, who in March 2003 killed their three young children and then burned their Colorado Springs home, hoping to collect insurance. Timothy Nicholls was convicted of three counts of felony murder in 2007 and ordered to serve three life sentences. A year later, Deborah Nicholls was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Folsom’s “proudest case,” she said, was helping convict Jereme A. Lamberth, who shot and killed Colorado Springs Police detective Jared Jensen at a bus stop near Memorial Park in February 2006. Lamberth was sentenced to 96 years in prison for Jensen’s murder in May 2008.

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In 2009, Folsom was among several attorneys who left the District Attorney’s Office following the election of Dan May and the departure of his predecessor John Newsome. She joined the El Paso County Attorney’s Office that year.

“I was the second in command at the District Attorney’s Office at the time and it was a logical career move,” Folsom said. “It goes without saying that the new District Attorney would bring in a new second in command. An opportunity in the County Attorney’s Office opened up and it was the natural next step.”

Folsom became the county attorney in 2012, and in 2014 she was called on to recuse herself from a broad investigation centered on former El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa's relationship with subordinates. 

Folsom said Monday she was friends with Maketa and the members of the Sheriff’s command staff who brought allegations against him, but she recused herself from the county's investigation because of her role in providing legal services to the Sheriff’s Office, The Gazette previously reported.

“Terry Maketa’s issues were scandalous,” she said Monday, but her recusal was not. “That was the right thing. It’s standard practice.”

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When commissioners unanimously passed a vote of no-confidence for Maketa and asked him to resign in May 2014, he refused, saying through a statement from the Sheriff's Office he intended to complete his third term in office, which lasted until the end of 2014. An outside law firm, Sherman and Howard, was retained to investigate the employment complaints against the sheriff and determine liability. A different attorney was retained to represent Maketa. In December 2014, Maketa submitted retirement paperwork and left office Dec. 31.

After she retires, Folsom and her husband Russ Adkins plan to move to South Dakota, where Folsom grew up, she said.

“I’m putting this end-cap on my career with El Paso County, but I hope to continue advancing my career, hopefully in local government,” she said.

 

Reporter

Breeanna Jent covers El Paso County government. She previously worked as the editorial assistant for the Pikes Peak Newspapers and joined their sister paper, The Gazette, in 2020.

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