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Reading from a prepared statement at the start of the board of county commissioners meeting on July 12, former Elbert County Attorney Wade Gateley took to the lectern to speak about his professional departure from the county.
Gateley, who resigned June 26, stated that at the start of his employment he had hoped for five years with the county, but that he felt good about the 3 1/2 years he did complete.
His remarks hinted at some behind-the-scenes struggles that had been a part of his time with the county and an appreciation for personal character building and the relationships he’d built during his time as county attorney.
“When I first took the job, I didn’t realize the level of the divisiveness of the politics in Elbert County and what the job would entail,” Gateley, a Colorado Springs resident, said.
“God allows adversity in our lives … if you doubt that, just read the Book of Job and you’ll understand what I mean,” he said.
“Adversity can be a good thing because it can improve you, it can strengthen you, it can help you learn from your mistakes and it can make you a stronger person.
“What I want to say is that I’m thankful for adversity, too.”
Though he never got specific, Gateley said the difficulties he encountered during his time with the county had shown him who his friends and supporters were. He said that he had felt supported by all the elected officials and every employee of Elbert County during his tenure.
“I want to especially thank former commissioner (Robert) Rowland and former commissioner Kurt Schlegel for the opportunity they gave me,” Gateley said.
“I also want to thank former county manager Ed Ehmann, who I consider a friend … and I think he is a very major reason for why the county is where it’s at.”
Ehmann went on leave in April and resigned in June. The county is seeking a replacement.
During the BOCC meeting, Dianna Hiatt from the county’s human resources department stood to provide an update on the county employee handbook. She prefaced the presentation with her thoughts about Gateley.
“He has always kept the best interest of the county on the top of his list,” she said, “and he always kept a positive attitude, which is refreshing.”
Commissioner Chris Richardson said after the meeting that “Wade has been a valued member of our team and I have appreciated his counsel as Danny (Willcox), Grant (Thayer) and I have settled into our roles as commissioners.”
Gateley concluded his statement by sharing his plan of action.
“I’m going to try and go on with my life and not take myself too seriously, have some fun in my life — and my immediate plans are to enjoy the summer and climb some more fourteeners.”
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