From: Chris Richardson
Sent: Monday, August 14, 2017 1:10 PM
Thank you for contacting me in the matter. I have and will continue to give the issue serious consideration.
Christopher A. Richardson
Commissioner District 1
Dear Commissioner Richardson,
Thank you for your detailed response to my August 13 email concerning the ethical issues which will arise if you insist on participating in the BOCC's adjudication of the Independence applications while simultaneously serving as a school board member for the Elizabeth School District. I contacted the Independent Ethics Commission regarding a letter ruing on this issue and was informed that they would not consider a request for a letter ruling from a citizen who is not contemplating a business or financial relationship with the county or a public official. My remedy, should you proceed to vote on the applications, will be to file a formal complaint with the IEC.
You still retain the option of filing a request for an advisory opinion, as outlined in my email. Such requests must be filed at least ten days before an IEC meeting. The next such meeting is scheduled for August 28; so a timely request for an advisory opinion could be submitted by this Friday. Failing that, the BOCC could continue its consideration of the Independence application until after the IEC's September meeting. If you are unwilling to pursue either of the other two options presented in my email (resignation from the school board or recusal from the Independence matter) I urge you to seek an IEC opinion before acting.
"I believe in limited, effective, and open government..."
Well, so do I. How is it possible the Commissioner I voted for mentions his wife on his Website, but doesn't mention she is a Realtor/Broker, and his wife mentions her husband on her Website but doesn't mention he is a County Commissioner? Would that have changed my vote? Most probably. How does that not carry the perception of "omission by design"? How is it the Commissioner I voted for is on the Board of Directors for the Elizabeth School District where he will soon vote on a projected school in the Independence PUD. If each family has just 1.5 kids in that PUD, that's 1,400 more kids in Elbert County schools allowed or disallowed by a County Commissioner vote. That is more than the "perception" of a conflict of interest me thinks.
Colorado Revised Statutes section 24 - 18 - 109 3(a) addresses the issue of conflicts of interest by local government officials and provides:
"A member of the governing body of a local government who has a personal or private interest in any matter proposed or pending before the governing body shall disclose such interest to the governing body and shall not vote thereon and shall refrain from attempting to influence the decisions of the other members of the governing body in voting on the matter."
I do not see any way that BOCC Chris Richardson should have a vote in the matter of Independence. It is my firm belief he should recuse himself from the project completely. (Editor Note: And maybe save himself and the county from another lawsuit).
- Wayne Ordakowski
I’m writing this letter in response to an incident that occurred at the Elbert County Fair on Thursday, August 3, that I witnessed and that requires some clarification. Additionally, I was only moved to write this letter in light of an attempt by a small group of local Republicans to spin this incident into something it was not.
Briefly, Andrea Richardson (wife of County Commissioner Chris Richardson), approached a group of citizens tending the SOD (Stop Over Development Elbert County) booth at the fair. Her first comments, spoken forcefully, were, “Do you know who I am? I’m Andrea Richardson, Chris Richardson’s wife.” Incidentally, she was wearing a name tag appearing to represent the Elizabeth Chamber of Commerce. From that point on, she was aggressive and defensive in her language and her actions, finger pointing and raising her voice at citizens both inside and outside of the booth. She accused the citizens of spreading rumors about her husband’s impartiality regarding the proposed Independence development, soon to be heard before the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC).
Some pertinent facts:
-contrary to statements made by a small group of negative pot-stirrers who choose to divide rather than unite, the SOD booth was NOT paid for or part of the Elbert County Democratic Party. Rather, SOD is a bi-partisan group of concerned citizens who are opposed to high density overdevelopment which does not fit the rural nature of the rest of the county, nor is it similar to any properties in the immediate area of this proposed development.
-the concerns raised regarding Mr. Richardson involved his conflicts of interest while insisting on being a member of both the BOCC and the Elizabeth School Board. He cannot carry out his fiduciary obligations to both boards at the same time. He can’t serve two masters.
-contrary to additional statements made, Andrea Richardson was not provoked by any members of SOD. She clearly had an agenda as she approached the SOD booth which the audio recordings of the incident support.
While Andrea Richardson clearly has a right to her opinion, she chose the wrong place and the wrong time to express her concerns.
Thank you to the group of citizens surrounding the SOD booth for remaining professional and polite during this unfortunate meltdown.
If you’d like to know more about our group, visit our Facebook page - SOD Elbert County.
The Elbert County Comprehensive Plan is under revision; your ideas, concerns, and input are needed. There are 2 remaining citizen input meetings scheduled, as follows:
Please visit https://www.elbertcountycompplan.com, which provides us with the activity calendar, upcoming Agenda, review of prior meetings, polling opportunities, maps, documents, status of the comprehensive plan, and a “Contact Us” link to share your ideas. Watch for smaller public meetings hosted by HOAs, churches, and other organizations.
Andrea Richardson is convinced that someone is spreading rumors about her husband Commissioner, Chris Richardson. We keep our ear pretty close to the ground and have heard nothing of the sort. But as a special service to Andrea (so that she does not come off as a misguided Looney Tune) we offer up the following subjects as potential Chris Richardson rumors someone could get started.
Aiden Kerbs and his family. Aiden has thyroid disease which was diagnosed at 18 months. Starting at age 3, Aiden began breaking bones. As he has aged the breaks have become more frequent, and now he has had 21 fractures. He also has swollen hands and fingers. We are desperate to find answers, yet the doctors have none. He is currently undergoing genetic testing. All of the medical bills have taken a toll on the family. His mom is a school teacher in Elbert. Check out his GoFund Me Page (CLICK HERE).
... means that the county commissioners can approve the sale of water outside the county without a public hearing…..which appears to be an “end run” around current county zoning regulations.
... Independence Water and Sanitation District could sell water to any future high density developments without a public hearing….again, sell water outside the stated boundaries of Independence.
UPDATE: On July 18, 2017, the Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend approval of the Independence development to the BOCC. One change that the PC requested was that language be inserted so that water could not be sold “out of the county.” However, United Water and Sanitation District, which operates on a one acre piece of land in Elbert County, has statewide water distribution authority. This opens the door for Independence water to be sold to United Water (technically still in Elbert County); then United Water has the authority to sell this water anywhere in the state. Time will tell if there is a potential connection here. Additionally, Diane Miller works closely with the owner of the United Water District on a number of special districts.