Category: Ethics

Violation of state law let Rowland seize control of Mesa County Public Health Department

Mesa County Commissioner Janet Rowland

Mesa County Commissioner Janet Rowland succeeded in imposing her political will on the Mesa County Public Health Department yesterday after appointing two final conservative members to the Mesa County Board of Public Health (BOH).

Health Department employees point out Rowland made all the new appointments to the Board of Health without consulting a single person at the Health Department.

“The fact that they keep appointing people to our Board that so clearly do not support the work that we do feels like a spit in the face every time,” one employee said.

Mesa County Commissioners’ new chair of the Public Health Board refuses to say if he believes Covid-19 was “targeted to attack Caucasians and Black people” and spare Jews and Chinese people

On of the many Facebook and Instagram posts by Mesa County Board of Public Health chair Stephen D. Daniels, lauding Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., a vocal anti-vaxxer who has spread lies and conspiracy theories for “the better part of two decades.”

The Mesa County Commissioners’ newly-appointed Chair of the Public Health Board, Stephen D. Daniels, has made it known that he is a strong supporter of anti-vax conspiracy theorist and presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. (RFK). In multiple posts on his social media accounts, Daniels urges people to be open to discussion about Kennedy’s views and believe what Kennedy has to say.

But does Daniels support what RFK told a table full of people last week at a press event in Manhattan (video), that the Covid-19 virus is “ethnically targeted” to attack Caucasians and Black people, and to spare Jews and Chinese people?

RFK’s comments were widely reported as being a “Bigoted new Covid conspiracy about Jews and Chinese” (NY Times), as being “deplorable” and “hurtful” (Fox News), as spreading “false claims” about Covid-19 (CBS News) and  being “antisemitic and racist” (ABC News).

Specifically, RFK said in part,

“There is an argument that it [Covid-19] is ethnically targeted. COVID-19 attacks certain races disproportionately. COVID-19 is targeted to attack Caucasians and black people. The people who are most immune are Ashkenazi Jews and Chinese.”

Mesa County Commissioner Janet Rowland vs. former Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters: Lots of similarities

When their behaviors as elected officials are compared, Mesa County Commissioner Janet Rowland and former Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters have more in common than people may realize:

Chart of Janet vs. Tina

A former Red Rock sales & finance employee tells how employees are treated, and how it affects customers

We’ve already seen that Red Rock auto dealerships in Grand Junction have drawn more than 15 times the complaints to the Auto Industry Division of other new car dealerships in town over the last two years, and that they used illicit sales tactics that sent many hard-working customers into desperate downward financial spirals. The Better Business Bureau slapped red alerts on several Red Rock dealerships due to “a pattern of complaints” about their contracts, service departments, and customer service.

By comparison, non-Red Rock new car dealerships in G.J., like Western Slope Auto, Bozarth Chevrolet, Grand Junction Subaru & Volkswagen, and Grand Junction Chrysler Jeep Dodge logged no customer complaints within the same time frame. This begs the question of why is there such a big difference between how Red Rock has operated, and how these other dealerships operate?

Daily Sentinel: Commissioner Rowland and County Attorney Todd Starr violated County policy for County credit card use, receipts

Lobby of the $225-$250/night Antlers Hotel in Colorado Springs, where County Attorney Todd Starr used his county credit card to pay for a room, in violation of County policy which requires County employees to get a per diem instead for travel.

An Open Records Act request by Daily Sentinel reporter Charles Ashby examining expenditures by Mesa County Commissioner Janet Rowland and County Attorney Todd Starr over the last year found both made questionable purchases that arguably violated County policy.

Rowland and Starr charged Public Health Department Jeff Kuhr with doing the same thing, but in his case they called it a fireable offense.

County employees are not allowed to use a County credit card for out-of-town trips. Instead, they are supposed to get a per-diem (a fixed daily allowance) for their expenses.

Mesa County Commissioners avoid getting bids for $49k forensic Health Dept. audit & Dufford, Waldek law firm contract

Mesa County Commissioner Janet Rowland failed to get 3 bids for multi-thousand dollar contracts

Mesa County Commissioner Janet Rowland has cited the awarding of contracts without first getting competitive bids as reason enough to fire Mesa County Public Health Department (MCPHD) Director Jeff Kuhr:
According to an article in the 6/14/23 issue of the Daily Sentinel, titled “More turmoil on the Public Health Board,”
“At the June 5 public health meeting, [Mesa County Attorney Todd] Starr presented a largely one-sided view of a partial audit done earlier this year on the department, some of which said Kuhr hired contractors without going through a competitive bid process…” [Italicized emphasis added.] Rowland complained that awarding sole source contracts without first getting bids or going through review by County finance departments “puts the County at high risk because [the contracts don’t] go through a legal, risk or finance review.”
But she and the other Commissioners award high-dollar contracts without first getting competitive bids where such bids and oversight are merited, according to County policy.

Red Rock dealership customers still finding surprise additional charges and claimed forgeries on their documents

Think Trouble: Red Rock’s proprietary USB key-style thumb drive that they use to hand people their documents

Since Red Rock dealerships’ shady sales tactics were first exposed in this blog, people have been digging out documents from their vehicle purchases at Red Rock, examining them and continuing to discover expensive extras added to their contracts that they didn’t know about and signatures on them that people say are not theirs.

One of these people is Natasha Bury-Wilder, a hard-working single mother of three employed in home care, who says she got taken twice by Red Rock Nissan and ended up in a deep financial hole as a result.

Mesa County Commissioners violate County policy to appoint Janet Rowland to Board of Public Health

Last page of the intergovernmental agreement MCA 2012-079, laying out the relationship between Mesa County and the Board of Public Health (BOH). The appointment of Janet Rowland to the BOH was highly controversial at the time Commissioners made it, but the Commissioners skipped holding the required meeting with the BOH about it first.

The relationship between Mesa County and the Health Department is governed by the 2012 “Agreement, MCA 2012-079” (pdf), dated June 25, 2012.

The Agreement discusses financing, budgeting, purchasing and personnel policies, and it lays out the overall relationship between the two agencies.

Item #2 of the Agreement says a county commissioner may be appointed to the Board of Health, but Item #10 says:

“10. Points of controversy hereunder will be addressed by a meeting between the Mesa County Board of Health and the Board of County Commissioners.”

Janet Rowland

Janet Rowland was appointed to the Board of Health on April 25th.

It was a highly controversial appointment at the time.

Victor Yahn, newly-appointed member of the Mesa County Board of Public Health, resigns after less than 2 weeks

Yahn

Vitor Yahn, one of the people Mesa County Commissioner Janet Rowland appointed to the Mesa County Board of Public Health on an interim basis after the original Board resigned en masse, has himself resigned from the Board.

The entire original Board of Health resigned after Rowland pressured them relentlessly to fire Health Department Director Jeff Kuhr, and they refused, and Rowland threatened to fire them all. It was questionable whether the move would have been legal, but the Board resigned rather than face a hearing with a predetermined outcome.

Rowland has been accusing Dr. Kuhr of financial wrongdoing for months, but Mesa County District Attorney Dan Rubinstein investigated Dr. Kuhr and found insufficient evidence that Kuhr engaged in any financial wrongdoing, or acted to benefit himself in any way.

The Commissioners’ glaring double standard: Jeff Kuhr vs. Tina Peters

Daily Sentinel editorial from Thursday, August 26, 2021, questioning why the Commissioners have not demanded Tina Peters resign as County Clerk

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?

Rep. Boebert lies to constituents about missed debt ceiling vote

Despite railing against the debt limit deal for weeks, tweeting against it 23 times and calling the bill “D.C. self-created garbage,” on May 31, 2023 Colorado House Rep. Lauren Boebert missed her chance to vote on the bill.

A CNN reporter caught video of Boebert running up the Capitol steps too late to vote on the bill. As Boebert is dashing up the steps the reporter tells Boebert “It’s closed.” Boebert stops, turns around and says, “It’s closed?” then turns keeps running up the steps.

The complaint against Mesa County employee Lisa Mills that led the Social Work Board to sanction her

Lisa Rickerd Mills, Behavioral Health Strategies Manager for Mesa County, who reports directly to Commissioner Janet Rowland and who appears to have been the person who prompted Rowland to start attacking Dr. Jeff Kuhr, longtime Director of the Mesa County Public Health Department (Photo: Facebook)

Lisa Rickard Mills is Behavioral Health Strategies Manager for Mesa County, reports to Mesa County Commissioner Janet Rowland and is administering programs funded with $1 million in combined grants from the Colorado Department of Human Services Office of Behavioral Health, St. Mary’s Hospital and the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office.

According to text messages (pdf) obtained between Janet Rowland and Mills, Mills also appears to have been instrumental in prompting Mesa County Commissioner Janet Rowland to start her recent attacks Mesa County Public Health Department Director Dr. Jeff Kuhr.

Mills is a Licensed Social Worker (LSW) with the State of Colorado. Public records show that in 2020 she was sanctioned by the state Board of Social Work Examiners.

The Mesa County employee behind the effort to fire Public Health Department Director Jeff Kuhr

Lisa Rickerd Mills (Photo: Facebook)

Lisa Mills is a behavioral health strategies manager for Mesa County’s Department of Health and Human Services and by all indications seems to be a key figure in the County’s recent ongoing, unhinged efforts to take down Dr. Jeff Kuhr as longtime Director of the Mesa County Public Health Department (MCPHD).

Can the Board of Mesa County Commissioners sink any lower?

The Board of Mesa County Commissioners (BOCC) have been in full attack mode against Mesa County Public Health Department Director Dr. Jeff Kuhr for months. All their efforts to remove him have been shown to be without foundation. (L-R: Bobbie Daniel, Cody Davis and Janet Rowland). Photo: Mesa County

EDITORIAL from the June 1, 2023 edition of the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel.  Reprinted in full, with permission. Link to original editorial is here.

This editorial explains what’s been going on with the Commissioners’ months-long, defamatory attack on Mesa County Public Health Director Jeff Kuhr.

Can the BOCC sink any lower?

“Let us not assassinate this lad further, senator. You have done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last?”

 Joseph Welch, special counsel for the U.S. Army, to Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy during hearings in 1954 on whether communism infiltrated the U.S. armed forces.

Mesa County commissioners are in the midst of a relentless campaign to remove Dr. Jeff Kuhr from his position as executive director of Mesa County Public Health.

They’ve tried every trick in the book, some a little more unseemly than others, but none as low as the character assassination they’ve planted in the public record that unfairly swipes at Kuhr’s reputation without giving him an opportunity to defend himself.

Commissioners are acting much like the disgraced Sen. McCarthy, whose role in the Army-McCarthy hearings was described as “judge, jury, prosecutor, castigator, and press agent, all in one,” by Harvard law dean Ervin Griswold.

Mesa County Commissioner Janet Rowland has used county agencies to advance her personal ideology and interfere in personnel decisions before

Board of Mesa County Commissioners. (L-R: Bobbie Daniel, Cody Davis and Janet Rowland). Photo: Mesa County

District Attorney Dan Rubinstein announced he’s closed the investigation into the Mesa County Commissioners’ allegations of financial wrongdoing by Mesa County Public Health Director Dr. Jeff Kuhr, saying,

“We lack sufficient evidence of anything criminal…” and “…[We] lack sufficient evidence that Mr. Kuhr was personally involved in, or personally directed, any level of reporting that would make him criminally culpable for material misstatements.”

With Janet Rowland at the helm, so far the Commissioners have spent $49,000 in taxpayer funds on a financial audit of Kuhr in an attempt to try find some reason to fire him, in addition digging up and spreading around negative personnel comments about Kuhr from as far back as 2011. So far, everything they’ve found, including a $219 alcohol purchase that has since been reimbursed, have fallen flat. Even four members of the Mesa County Board of Health have said nothing they’ve seen about Kuhr so far rises to the level of a fireable offense. Then they all resigned in protest after learning the Commissioners were going to fire them if they didn’t agree to fire Kuhr.

Text of the Petition to Recall District 51 School Board President Andrea Haitz

Andrea Haitz, District 51 School Board President

Some people have asked where they can read the text of the petition to recall District 51 School Board President Andrea Haitz.

You can read the entire petition here. 

The petition is available for signing every day from 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 noon at Lincoln Park. The table with circulators and petitions will either be at 12th and Teller by the Barn, or at 12th and Gunnison. 

Vehicle Buyers Beware: Many former Red Rock employees have moved over to Grand Valley Auto, and are plying their trade there

AnneLandmanBlog has received credible information that a large number of former Red Rock employees have moved over to Grand Valley Auto, where they are continuing to use the same tricks they learned at Red Rock.

New website up for the effort to recall D-51 School Board President Andrea Haitz

Click the image to go to the new website for the Andrea Haitz recall effort

The public can now keep track of the effort to recall School District 51’s Board President Andrea Haitz by going to SignForKids.com, where people can find out where to sign petitions, get trained in how to gather signatures, donate to the effort or volunteer to help. The organizers need to gather 15,000 valid signatures of registered voters within the next two months.

The website states the public’s grievances against Haitz:

  • Andrea Haitz was elected to the District 51 Board in 2021, promising transparency.

  • Instead, Haitz has turned local control of school dollars over to extremist organizations, turned fundamental parts of her job over to expensive lawyers, denied student pleas for mental health services, and used her office for family political gain.

  • The biggest decisions at District 51 are now being turned over to outside interests and fringe extremists who don’t represent Mesa County families.