New Elbert County planning commissioners appointed

By George Lurie
Posted

The Board of County Commissioners rang in the new year by appointing four new members to the county's planning commission.

Elbert County's BOCC also reappointed Bob Ware to a full term.

The appointments were made at a special BOCC meeting held Jan. 2.

BOCC chair Robert Rowland, who represents District 1, appointed Ware to a three-year term that expires in 2017.

Ware had already been serving on the all-volunteer planning commission since mid-2013 after he was tapped to serve out the remainder of Paula Koch's term. (Koch resigned her seat prior to moving out of state.)

Rowland also appointed Paul Tanner to a seat on the nine-member planning commission. Tanner, a county resident for 15 years, is a local real estate broker who also raises and trains mustang horses.

Tanner was appointed to serve out the term of former planning commission chairman Paul Crisan, who was abruptly dismissed from the planning commission in November amid charges of obstructionism and unprofessional conduct leveled by Commissioners Rowland and Kurt Schlegel.

Tanner's term on the commission will expire in January 2015.

Crisan attended the Jan. 2 special meeting and attempted to address the BOCC just as the meeting was being adjourned.

BOCC chair Rowland told Crisan the public comment period had already ended but did allow him to speak briefly after Crisan said, "I only have two questions."

"OK," said Rowland as most of the people at the meeting, including the commissioners, were already standing and preparing to leave the room. "What are your two questions?"

"Are the new commissioners you appointed today going to be allowed to vote [on the oil and gas regulations] at the [planning commission] meeting tonight?" Crisan asked.

Without responding directly to Crisan's question, Rowland countered: "What's your second question?"

At which point a clearly agitated Crisan countered: "Tell me why I shouldn't sue the county for the way I was fired - and for continuing to be slandered in the press?"

Rowland did not answer the question but did offer to talk with Crisan after the meeting.

During the meeting, Rowland also appointed Mark Smith, an Elbert County resident since 1992, to a term on the planning commission running through January 1, 2016.

Smith, who Rowland said "has been active in a lot of issues facing Elbert County, including oil and gas," is a former building inspector for both Arapahoe and Elbert counties.

District 2 Commissioner Schlegel then appointed Tony Baker to the planning commission. Baker will replace Mike Kelley, whose term expired Jan. 1.

Baker, who lives in the northwest part of the county, recently designed and distributed a popular bumper sticker promoting Elbert County.

"Tony is a very bright guy and will bring a new and different perspective to the planning commission," said Schlegel.

Following Rowland's and Schlegel's appointments, District 3 Commissioner Larry Ross appointed Daniel Rosales to the planning commission vacancy created when former chairman Grant Thayer resigned in July 2013.

Rosales, who worked for many years for AT&T, is the former campaign manager for Rep. Tim Dore, who represents District 64 in the Colorado state house.

"I have a strong willingness to help Elbert County," Rosales wrote in a letter to Ross expressing his interest in joining the planning commission.

"My ability to mediate controversial issues and encourage people to compromise for the benefit of the community's goals is a passion," Rosales added.

The BOCC approved all of the 2014 appointments to the planning commission by 3-0 votes.

Rosales was out of town Jan. 2 and did not attend a planning commission meeting held that same night.

All of the other new appointees did attend the Jan. 2 meeting - and later that evening the newcomers cast their first official votes in favor of approval of the long-debated revisions to the county's oil and gas regulations.