Jul 29, 2014 8:50 PM by Greg Dingrando
COLORADO SPRINGS - The El Paso County Sheriff's Office could soon be out more than a hundred thousand dollars and the County Commission is blaming it directly on Sheriff Terry Maketa.
The expense comes from all the legal fees built up, reportedly because of the controversies surrounding the sheriff. The fees include the cost of two seperate lawyers, and the independent investigators looking into the allegations.
The board may be sending the $175,000 bill to the Sheriff's Office, but the problem with that is the county pays for the Sheriff's Office budget. Still the commissioners said it was an important move to not only watch over tax payer dollars, but send yet another message to the sheriff that he's not wanted.
When the plan to send the Sheriff's Office the bill first came up the analogy's started flying like "robbing Peter to pay Paul," and "pulling from one pocket and putting it in the other." The problem is both pockets are in the jacket of the county.
"If the Sheriff's Office is paying for it the tax payers are still paying for it. They're paying for mistakes of the sheriff who I think should be personally responsible for, but we can't do that at this time," said Commissioner Peggy Littleton.
So they went with the plan to bill the Sheriff's Office, but not until after they get details of exactly where the money would come from within the office. Either way, it likely won't be good for the Sheriff's Office or the citizens.
"Any funds that you take away from any portion of a different budget to pay for another sheriff budget item still affects the deputies and our Sheriff's Office employees," said Littleton.
Its something that Commissioner Littleton said could have been avoided if Maketa would have stepped down, so she asked him again.
"The reason I asked again and keep asking is I don't think he's getting the message," said Littleton.
But Sheriff Maketa continues to refuse, saying in the past that he's not going anywhere. Littleton said his refusal to step down is keeping the tax payer meter running and some citizens aren't too happy about it.
"We'll continue to spend money on this until someone says ouch and we're the ouchers," said William Murray.
"Would we save fees if he went ahead and resigned? The answer is an obvious yes. Unfortunately every time he opens his mouth, or sends an email, or posts something on the Sheriff's Office website the citizens seem to incur more damages," said Littleton.
On top of the $175,000 chunk that could be taken out of the Sheriff's Office budget, Littleton said the worst part about this whole thing continues to be the damage all the controversy is doing to moral within the office.
We contacted the Sheriff's Office for comment and only received a brief text message from a spokesman that said," We will continue to follow all county budget procedures."
The spokesman did not comment on Littleton asking Maketa for a second time to resign.
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