A search of Daily Sentinel archives for information on Republican Janet Rowland’s first two terms as Mesa County Commissioner (2004-2012) turns up substantial criticism of her by Mesa County residents. These critiques amount to performance evaluations of her by the local electorate during her previous terms in the office.
For those who are unaware, Rowland is currently running for a third term as county commissioner. State law prohibits anyone from serving more than two consecutive terms as County Commissioner. She can run again if at a minimum of four years has elapsed since she previously held the position. That is the case with Rowland and the reason she is able to run again.
But just because the law allows someone to run for extra terms as county commissioner, is it a good idea?
Not in this case.
What did we discover about Rowland during her first terms in office?
In an August 8, 2008 letter to the editor, Republican Joseph Breman says he supported Rowland for county commissioner when she first ran, but came to believe based on her performance in office that his vote for her was wrong. Bremen questioned Rowland’s lack of vision and ethical behavior — or lack thereof — which we highlighted in a previous post in this blog. In his letter, Breman points to Rowland’s plagiarism, her “ugly, unkind and nationally publicized comments about the gay community” made during her gubernatorial race with Bob Beauprez, her taking of undeserved credit for Mesa County’s accomplishments, her “childish name-calling of critics,” opposition to open space, and other problems:
Gary Bosch of Grand Junction wrote the Sentinel in January of 2007 with criticism of Rowland for fostering a “culture of corruption and violation of ethics.” Rowland had asked Jean Reynolds of KKCO TV 11 News to hire her (Rowland) as a legislative analyst for the TV station, even though at the time she (Rowland) was heading up Republican Josh Penry’s campaign for governor. This was a stark political bias and conflict of interest that clearly violated the Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics:
Another local professional, licensed clinical social worker Maynard Hesselbarth, expressed his opinion about Rowland in the October 14, 2008 issue of the Daily Sentinel. Beyond his career as a social worker, Hesselbarth was honored by the Colorado state legislature in 2000 for his dedication to advancing adult literacy. Hesselbarth, who was familiar with the operation of the county’s Department of Human Services, wrote that despite Rowland’s supposed work to save children from abuse, she “consistently failed to protect the rights of parents who have been falsely accused of abuse and neglect.” Hesselbarth wrote, “A vote for Janet Rowland is a step backward in our county government operations.”
Yet another citizen took issue with Rowland’s purported failure to show up for work. (Note that now the salary for county commissioner has increased to over $90,000/year):
These are just a few of the complaints found in the Daily Sentinel against Rowland by local citizens. They are essentially performance reviews. Voters might want to consider Janet Rowland’s past performance before installing her again as a county commissioner. Existing voters may not want to make the same mistake twice. Those who are new to Mesa County and unfamiliar with Janet Rowland’s track record may want to avoid making the mistake at all.