Incumbent Mesa County Commissioners unilaterally failing to address Coronavirus pandemic

Guest post by Dennis Simpson, CPA, reposted with permission from his “Transparency in Mesa County” Facebook page

Mesa County Commissioner Scott McInnis

The Mesa County Commissioners have been totally silent on the impact the COVID-19 crisis will have on the County’s ability to deliver basic services to residents during the many months before our economy returns to normal. Rather than buckling down and addressing the tough financial questions, they meet weekly to hear updates from County staff and to whine about just how terrible the Governor is. There is nothing wrong with these two activities. Staff needs to know the bosses support them. Complaining about what happens in Denver is a waste of time but it apparently makes them feel important.

The problem is not with what they are doing, it is about what they are not doing. There has been no discussion of the impact on the County’s reserve balances. They should be trying to get ahead of pending financial hit by reviewing numerous projections based on different assumptions of just how bad things are going to get. The development of the various assumptions and the results of each needs to be done by someone with demonstrated skills and the ability to simplify what they do so the Commissioners can understand their options. In my opinion, none of the current staff have these abilities. They need to seek help from outside the organization.

Commissioners are “deathly afraid of addressing tough problems in a public setting”

As I have pointed out on numerous occasions, the [County Commissioner Scott] McInnis-led gang is deathly afraid of addressing tough problems in a public setting. They will need to overcome this fear if they want to what is right for the people they represent. They must be willing to put in significant time to discuss this tremendous problem with each other and with staff. They also need to enter public discussion with community members. State law requires that their meetings must be open.

Rose Pugliese, a global warming denier and one of two incumbent county commissioners who are term-limited out in 2020.

These people are each paid over $90K per year (pdf) and are expected to devote full-time to their job. It is a fair question to ask them to disclose in detail just what they do all week. What can be more important than developing a plan to deal with this virus? It is not good enough to make vague statements like “I talked to some constituents and met with staff.” Now is not the time to deal with issues like the pipeline to Oregon or other issues not directly related to this crisis.

Inept behavior from incumbents, silence from Republican commissioner candidates

At least as concerning as the inept behavior of the incumbents is the absolute silence from the Republicans running for election. Ray Scott regularly brags about what a good jobhe is doing in Denver. Janet Rowland relies on her version of what a great commissioner she was 10 years ago. Scott, Rowland, and Cody Davis regularly espouse support for right-wing state-wide and national issues.

Their lack of comment regarding how the County is being run leads me to believe that they intend to fall right in line if they are elected. McInnis will still be there after the election. He is the one most committed to doing almost nothing and the one most fearful of letting citizens in on the discussions that lead to decisions. He

Mesa County Commissioner John Justman. a member of Mesa County Deplorables, is term-limited out in 2020.

has a dominating personality and is a very poor listener. The last things we need are two new Commissioners who will follow his lead.

On Tuesday, the Sentinel printed a guest editorial from Kathryn Bedell (attached). Her writing is a refreshing critique and raises valid issues that need to be discussed and debated.
It is time for voters, especially Republicans, to understand that it makes no difference if County Commissioners like Donald Trump, oppose gun control and are pro-life. We elect them to run the County on a day to day basis. It is time for a change in the whole thought process.
–Dennis Simpson, CPA
  • On March 21, 2020, Dennis Simpson made specific recommendations on financial actions the county commissioners could take to handle the COVID-19 pandemic. That article is here.
  • One 2020 candidate for county commissioner, Kathryn Bedell, DVM, of Fruita, who is running in District 1 (the west end of the county) has spoken up publicly with her ideas of what county commissioners should be doing to address to Coronavirus pandemic. Her commentary is here.

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