Mesa County Commissioner Janet Rowland succeeded in convincing the three new temporary members of the Board of Public Health (BOPH) to vote to put Mesa County Health Department Director Jeff Kuhr on paid leave.
Rowland has been working to push Kuhr out of his job for months.
The stunning part of the BOPH meeting was who was there to support Kuhr.
The audience was packed with prominent longtime local Republican political figures, including former Mesa County Commissioner Kathy Hall, former Chamber of Commerce President Diane Schwenke, former CMU President Tim Foster (now Kuhr’s attorney in this matter) and Doug and Jamie Simons, owners of Enstrom Candies. Former County Commissioner Jim Spehar was there, as well as the owners of the Winery and Crossroads Fitness. All spoke in support of Kuhr and urged the BOPH to keep him in his job. Many said how Kuhr has done an exceptional job as head of the Health Department, how grateful they are to him and that these attacks on him amount to some kind of personal vendetta. Many of those who spoke were previously long time supporters of Janet Rowland.
One attendee remarked after the meeting that,
“Every business leader or former community leader that walked out of that room said that Janet has lost her mind.”
Another speculated that perhaps the stroke Janet suffered in February of last year has had some effect on her mind.
At the end of the meeting, armed security guards were posted at the entry way and Janet had to be escorted to her car.