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Terminated: Pueblo commissioners vote to remove spokesperson, questions remain

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Posted at 8:34 PM, Feb 29, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-29 22:34:39-05

PUEBLO COUNTY — Pueblo County's Public Information Officer Adam Uhernik is now out of a job after he said he filed a complaint against Commissioner Eppie Griego. He's served as the county's spokesperson since 2018 and today two of the three Pueblo County commissioners voted to remove him from the position.

"You know, this is really a sad day for Pueblo County government as well as [the] Pueblo County community," Uhernik told reporters after the vote Thursday afternoon.

The Board of County Commissioners met for a short meeting Thursday, Uhernik's employment was the only item on the agenda.

"There's been a loss of trust and confidence in Adam's ability to represent the board," Commissioner Eppie Griego said during Thursday's meeting. Commissioner Zach Swearingen also voted to remove Uhernik from his position.

After the vote, Griego refused to answer questions about what happened or why he decided to terminate Uhernik.

Uhernik did speak with reporters and says he is now filing a lawsuit against the county, he believes he was wrongfully terminated and that his firing comes after he made a complaint against Commissioner Griego last month.

Uhernik said the complaint was filed with the County Attorney, Cynthia Mitchell on Saturday, Jan. 27th, he provided a copy of the complaint to reporters after Thursday's meeting.

"He has consistently asked me to not perform my job duties to spite another city and county commissioner up for re-election," Uhernik said.


In his complaint given to reporters, Uhernik said Commissioner Griego called him on Saturday, Jan. 27th and asked Uhernik why he removed a video from the county's Facebook page. Only Uhernik said the video was never deleted.

According to the complaint, Griego said someone told him the video was gone.

"I believe that is unethical and illegal," Uhernik said in regards to deleting videos in the complaint. Uhernik said the video shows Commissioner Daneya Esgar rolling her eyes while Griego is speaking about the death of an officer.

"When one county commissioner is telling me to do something to spite another county commissioner, they're putting me in a very tough position where if I do what Commissioner Griego asked me to do, I would upset another sitting county commissioner who's up for re-election or vice versa," Uhernik said, "I have to rely on these county policies to guide me in my decision making. That's what I did."

Uhernik said he located the video and Commissioner Griego asked him to send it to him. Uhernik said he inquired about how the video related to official government business because he believed it was for a campaign purpose.

"He couldn't give me the official government business reason. So it's either for personal gain or the nature of the content was campaign-related. And that's why I kept asking him, what is the official government business reason for this? He wouldn't tell me," Uhernik said.

Both Esgar and Griego are running for their county commission seats in November.

The allegations don't stop there. Uhernik also believes the person who told Griego the video had been deleted is Nicki Hart, who owns a marketing firm in Pueblo and works on local campaigns. A letter from Uhernik's attorney said Griego had also pressured him to award Hart an $80,000 contract for 2024.


After the complaint was filed, Uhernik said he was called into a meeting on Feb. 16th with the County Attorney and County Manager. He said during that meeting he was asked to resign.

"[They said if] I didn't resign in three days, I would be discussed for termination in a public meeting, I went home that day and I was devastated," Uhernik said.

Uhernik would not resign, and now he finds himself out of a job. He is now working with an attorney to file a lawsuit against the county for his termination as he maintains had he followed through with Griego's request he would have violated county policy.

"We believe this is wrongful termination, we have the policies in hand to prove that," Uhernik said.

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