Category: Janet Rowland

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.

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 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.

Janet Rowland convinces newly-installed Public Health Board members to put Director Jeff Kuhr on paid leave

Janet Rowland at the Board of Public Health meeting June 5

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.”

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).

County teeing up new Public Health Board members to fire Dr. Jeff Kuhr as longtime Director of Mesa County Public Health Dept., despite being told there is “insufficient evidence” of wrongdoing

Jeff Kuhr won plaudits for helping Mesa County get through the Covid-19 pandemic.

If Mesa County Commissioner Janet Rowland gets her way, the new, temporary members recently intstalled on the Mesa County Board of Public Health (BOPH) will do the Commissioners’ bidding and fire longtime Mesa County Health Department Director Dr. Jeff Kuhr, even though there is insufficient evidence of any financial wrongdoing by Kuhr and even though a large majority of the local public thinks the county commissioners are engaging in a blatant overreach of their authority.

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.

Mesa County Commissioners working to seize control of Mesa County Board of Public Health

MCPHD Director Jeff Kuhr, Ph.D. won plaudits for helping Mesa County get through the Covid-19 pandemic

Mesa County Public Health Department (MCPHD) Director Dr. Jeff Kuhr has been under attack by the Mesa County Commissioners, who for some reason have been working for months to generate credible reasons to fire him. Commissioner Janet Rowland in particular has targeted Kuhr, accusing him of financial impropriety and grievous errors in MCPHD’s procurement processes. The Commissioners have ordered the Mesa County Board of Public Health to fire Kuhr, but they refused, saying there is no actual evidence that he’s intentionally done anything wrong. Not only that, but the State of Colorado rates MCPHD as having the lowest possible financial risk (pdf) in its compliance with federal and state contracts, making it clear that the state trusts MCPHD, but our right wing commissioners don’t. (This financial risk rating is done every three years, but the state skipped it during the pandemic. The MCPHD is currently undergoing this analysis again.)

Red Alert: Janet Rowland appointed to the Mesa County Board of Public Health

Janet Rowland probably did the most damage to current vaccination efforts through her campaign last year where she denigrated masking and embraced Q-Anon conspiracy theories about Covid-19.

Updated 5/6/23 to reflect support for the REOPEN movement by the violent, seditious hate group The Proud Boys, anti-vaxxers and conspiracy theorists, and the homophobic comments Rowland made on a statewide political TV show in 2006. 

In a move akin to appointing an arsonist as fire chief, Mesa County Commissioners Cody Davis and Bobbie Daniel appointed Commissioner Janet Rowland to the Mesa County Board of Public Health yesterday, Tuesday, April 25.

Rowland has been an outspoken enemy of public health for years.

She fought Covid-19 precautions before vaccines were available and disseminated disinformation about the virus that was linked to QAnon.  Her social media posts promoted the notion that Covid-19 was no more deadly than the flu. She said things on social media about the virus that contradicted public health messages instructing people in how to stay safe and reduce spread of what was then a largely deadly virus.

Mesa County Commissioners give Republican commissioner candidate Bobbie Daniel a huge advantage using taxpayer-funded resources

Election denier Bobbie Daniel (R), Republican running for County Commissioner, with her friend Tina Peters in 2018, before Tina was elected Clerk and was indicted on multiple felonies related to election tampering.

On Wednesday, October 12, 2022, in its opinion section the Daily Sentinel endorsed Republican election denier Bobbie Daniel for County Commissioner, saying she was “prepared to step in ready to work on day one.” But the Sentinel failed to ask the big question of how it happened that Daniel had become so prepped for the position.

It happened because Daniel has been groomed for months, maybe years, for the job by sitting Republican Mesa County commissioners, who have been using taxpayer-funded resources and taxpayer-funded County time to make sure Daniel gets a huge leg-up over her opponent in the race.

Commissioner candidate Bobbie Daniel cares about “overburdening taxpayers.” So what does she think of the massive expenditure her pal Tina Peters has cost Mesa County taxpayers?

Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters, now indicted on multiple felonies related to election tampering, with her friend Bobbie Daniel, who endorsed Tina for Clerk in 2018. Daniel is now is running for Mesa County Commissioner. More of the same GOP insanity in County government?

Republican Mesa County Commissioner candidate Bobbie Daniel says on Instagram that she’ll be fiscally responsible, that she cares about “overburdening taxpayers” and keeping local government stable.

Well if all that’s true, Daniel owes it to county taxpayers to say what she thinks of the $1.5 million and counting that County taxpayers have been forced to pay for the antics of her pal Tina Peters, whom Daniel endorsed for Clerk back in 2018. Why hasn’t Daniel condemned Peters’ antics and the massive expenditure Peters has cost county taxpayers so far? And why hasn’t Daniel apologized for her grievous mistake of endorsing Tina?

Daniel has been mum on the subject so far.

Maybe that’s because Daniel assured voters in 2018 Tina had lots of experience and “we’d be in really good hands” if she was elected Clerk and Recorder. Well we trusted Daniel and now we’ve see how THAT turned out. And we won’t even mention the 574 legitimately-cast ballots that Tina lost in 2019 and never counted, that kicked off her nightmarish term as clerk.

Despite proof there was no fraud in the 2020 election, Bobbie Daniel remains an election denier. Does someone who believes a lie like this deserve a seat on the County Commission?

Maybe it’s because Daniel herself is an election denier who is trying hard to keep it under wraps before the election this November. Word is also out ***Rumor-ALERT***Rumor-ALERT*** that sitting County Commissioner Janet Rowland ordered Daniel to keep her crazy election denialist beliefs out of her campaign for commissioner, since election deniers have been harassing the sitting commissioners for over a year now.

Maybe it’s because Tina alleged that “a county commissioner candidate” — whom we all know could ONLY have been Bobbie Daniel — was among those who attended a post-Mesa County election-equipment breach dinner with Conan Hayes, the professional election denier Tina smuggled into the Clerk’s office to make copies of the voting machines’ hard drives. Other attendees Tina alleged were at that dinner were Sherronna Bishop, who may have helped engineer the whole Mesa County election breach, and House Rep. Lauren Boebert, a strong supporter of the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Whatever the reason Daniel has been quiet about the amount of money taxpayers have been forced to spend on her pal Tina’s behavior, Daniel needs to come out and acknowledge she was wrong in endorsing Tina and apologize for helping put County voters through hell as a result of her terrible judgment.

Daniel’s Instagram post where she claims to be fiscally responsible and care about the stability of County government. So what does Daniel think of what her friend Tina has cost taxpayers so far? Voters deserve an answer to that question.

Mesa County Commissioner Janet Rowland reports she suffered a stroke on 2/24, is doing well

Mesa County Commissioner Janet Rowland has reported on her personal Facebook page that on the evening of February 24 after getting home from work, she suffered a type of stroke called a subarachnoid hemorrhage. She recognized the signs, called 911 and was rushed to the emergency room. Serial CAT scans over the next 24 hours showed no additional bleeding.

Court legally bars Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters & Deputy Clerk Belinda Knisley from any involvement in the November elections

A District Court Judge today legally barred Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters from running elections in the county. Despite her refusal to faithfully carry out the duties of her elected office, displaying an overt political bias in regard to whom she believes should and should not win elections in Mesa County and her bizarre antics promoting false claims of widespread voter fraud, Peters will keep getting her taxpayer-funded salary and can only be removed from office by resigning or through a recall election.

Mesa County District Court Judge Valerie Robison today issued an injunction  officially preventing embattled Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters and her hand-picked Deputy Clerk Belinda Knisley from having any involvement with the November elections. The ruling officially removed Peters as Designated Election Official and installed former Secretary of State Wayne Williams in that position. It also confirmed Sheila Riener as the Election Supervisor.

The ruling was in response to a lawsuit brought against Peters and Knisley by Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold. The suit was joined by Mesa County Commissioners Janet Rowland, Cody Davis and Scott McInnis, who were listed in the suit as intervenors.

Mesa County Commissioners approve extended contract with Dominion Voting Systems

Commissioner Janet Rowland gives angry audience a dose of reality, and votes to do the right thing

Screen shot of Zoom of today’s meeting, with chat box, while County Commissioner Scott McInnis was speaking. He was wearing a pink shirt.

The Mesa County Commissioners voted unanimously this afternoon to extend the County’s contract with Dominion Voting Systems so they could get new voting equipment for no up-front cost from Dominion. The Commissioners voted to maintain the County’s contract with the company until 2029, and agreed to make progressively higher payments to the company throughout that time. The County needed new voting equipment to replace the equipment decertified by the Colorado Secretary of State because Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters was unable to prove the equipment had been kept secure and had not been compromised.

Commissioners appoint Wayne Williams, former SOS who contracted with Dominion Voting Systems, to run local elections

Wayne Williams, via Wikipedia, photo By Jeffrey Beall – Own work, CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=72780852

The Board of Mesa County Commissioners (BOCC) held a rushed hearing this evening at which they appointed former Secretary of State Wayne Williams to oversee the 2021 election in Mesa County, taking swift action after Colorado Secretary of State (SOS) Jena Griswold stripped Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters’ of her ability to carry out elections.

The SOS can’t remove Peters from office because she was elected, but she can stop Peters from carrying out elections.

Griswold appointed current Mesa County Treasurer and former two-term County Clerk Sheila Reiner to oversee elections.

Reiner, a Republican, was term-limited out of the County Clerk’s office in 2018. Peters was elected in 2018 as her replacement. Peters is currently under criminal investigation in which, the SOS’s office says, all evidence shows she allegedly engineered a security breach of the county’s election equipment.

BOCC arm wrestles the Secretary of State for local control