May 27, 2014 1:30 PM by Joanna Wise

Commissioner calls on Sheriff Maketa to take leave or resign

EL PASO COUNTY - El Paso County Commissioner Peggy Littleton is publicly calling for El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa to place himself on administrative leave or resign effective immediately.

Littleton says her statements represent herself and not the board.

"One of the things we do know we have at this point and time is a lack of trust within the sheriff's office," said Littleton.

During Tuesday morning's county commission meeting local attorney Erin Jensen, who represents a sheriff's office employee, presented a two-page letter to the board.

Jensen says his client has been subjected to a hostile work environment, suppression of first amendment rights, along with intimidation and retaliation by Sheriff Maketa.

His client is also concerned with the fairness of the board's investigation into Maketa.

The client wants three board members to recuse themselves -- Commissioner Sallie Clark, Commissioner Amy Lathen, and County Attorney Amy Folsom.

According to the letter, Jensen and his client have evidence that suggests in 2010 Commissioner Clark received a complaint from another sheriff's office employee regarding Maketa.

Jensen says Clark forwarded the complaint to Maketa, which then led to Maketa publicly berating that person.

He says no investigation was conducted and no protections were extended.

In the letter, it is also stated that Clark, Lathen and Folsom have a "very close personal relationship" with the Sheriff making them biased.

"You also have a whole host of employees concerned about the way this investigation might go," said Jensen, Howard &Jenson LLC.

Clark, Lathen and Folsom acknowledged they are friends with Sheriff Maketa, but say their relationship is also professional in nature.

Lathen says they wear hats as county commissioners and are being very careful moving forward to protect everyone.

As for the email in 2010, Clark says she felt it was courtesy to pass it along to Maketa. She says the attorney's office was notified when she did so.

Folsom says there is no need for anyone recuse themselves.

The board has sought outside council to represent Sheriff Maketa.

Click here to read the letter by attorney Eric Jensen.

» There are multiple updates to this story. Please click here to get the latest information.


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