Janet Rowland and the County Commissioners have been working hard and spending tens of thousands of dollars in taxpayer funds to try to push Mesa County Public Health Department Director Dr. Jeff Kuhr out of his position, even though District Attorney Dan Rubinstein found insufficient evidence Kuhr had engaged in any financial impropriety and Kuhr had committed no prosecutable offense.
But where were Janet and the County Commissioners during the Tina Peters debacle?
Why didn’t the Commissioners demand Peters resign at any time during her term as Clerk, in light of all her horrific incompetence, the crimes to which she admitted, her blatant ethics violations and her extreme cost to County taxpayers?
After Tina lost 594 ballots from the 2019 election, after she had been indicted on multiple felonies for election tampering and still collected $93,000/year in salary as a no-show Clerk, after she cost County taxpayers over $1 million to replace voting machines plus hundreds of thousands more to hand-count ballots in subsequent elections; after Tina accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in gifts to her criminal defense fund, after she took multiple rides on Pillow Guy’s private plane, accepted 5 weeks of paid hotel rooms, meals and a security detail while hiding out in Texas — all in blatant violation of Colorado ethics law — after Tina had 3 ethics complaints filed against her with the state, all deemed “non-frivolous” by the Colorado Independent Ethics Commission — after ALL THIS, neither Janet Rowland nor the other County Commissioners ever once publicly demanded Tina resign. None of them said to Tina’s face, as Janet Rowland did to Jeff Kuhr at the June 5, 2023 Board of Health meeting, “You were deceitful and I can’t get past that,” and “I don’t trust you.”
No commissioner created a PowerPoint program showing how awful Tina had been as Clerk, the way the current commissioners have done to Dr. Kuhr. Throughout the whole interminable Tina Peters debacle, not one single commissioner ever publicly demanded she resign.
It was crickets from the Commissioners for years when it came to Tina, no matter how bad she got.
The Daily Sentinel even questioned the Commissioners about this in a Thursday, August 26, 2021 editorial, writing,
“Shouldn’t commissioners call for Peters’ resignation? The damage she has inflicted is absolute and doesn’t hinge on future charges or a criminal conviction. ‘Innocent until proven guilty’ doesn’t preclude commissioners from asking for her resignation based on a lack of competence…”
Contrast this with the situation with Dr. Jeff Kuhr.
By contrast, Dr. Kuhr has been a longtime competent leader of the Health Department. He’s never been indicted for any crimes. He’s never been sanctioned by any government agency. All of the actions for which the commissioners are attempting to impugn him, like failing to follow procurement policies and the way he handled purchasing cards, were done with the intention of benefitting the health department, not himself. Kuhr never used his position to benefit himself personally in any way, either financially or politically. His agency has earned praise from local business owners and citizens, has been effective and has been operated well enough financially to have earned the lowest possible financial risk rating from the state (pdf) for its compliance with state and federal grants.
The contrast between how the commissioners have handled these two cases is stark.
The commissioners spent years treating Tina Peters with kid gloves, giving her the benefit of every doubt, never once publicly asking her to resign despite her extreme incompetence, willful wrongdoing and cost to County taxpayers.
But with Jeff Kuhr, who has made a few easily-correctible mistakes and otherwise done nothing nefarious in 12 years on the job, they got out their knives, and suddenly started doing every possible thing they could think up to defame him, impugn him, embarrass him and try to push him out.
Why such a glaring difference between the way the commissioners have treated Tina and Dr. Kuhr?
Why was Janet so lenient and forgiving towards Tina, but is now showing so much public hatred against Jeff Kuhr, harassing, threatening him and defaming him over practically nothing compared to Tina, at a cost of at least $50,000 to taxpayers, just so far?
Is Janet’s motivation religiously-based, as many of her actions as commissioner have been in the past? Is her motive politically-based? Did Janet have a visceral dislike of how the Public Health Department operated during the pandemic, and is now exacting her revenge? Or just what is at the heart of this current push against Dr. Kuhr?
The residents of Mesa County deserve an answer, because the facts show the commissioners’ overreaction to Jeff Kuhr has clearly been selective and contrived.