Letters for Sept. 28, 2003

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Time to resign

It is time for Doug Monger, Routt County commissioner, to resign from the Emerald Mountain Board.

Monger was appointed to the board by the Routt County commissioners and apparently did a fine job. When the Emerald Mountain partnership invited the Bureau of Land Management in to start the process for a land swap between the Colorado State Land Board and the BLM, Monger should have resigned because of a conflict of interest.

Any public appointed official who is put in a position where there is a perceived conflict of interest must take immediate steps to eliminate the perceived conflict. Monger by his own admission is a part owner of the Monger Family Partnership. The Monger Partnership owns 541.21 acres of land that abuts one of the BLM parcels on Sleeping Giant. The Monger Trust also has a grazing lease on this BLM parcel.

In 1988, when the BLM initially selected the list of BLM parcels that were to be sold or traded, the BLM parcel that abuts the Monger acreage was on the "pick" list. Subsequently this acreage was eliminated from the pick list, but it can be put back on the list for elimination at any time at the whim of the BLM.

Monger sits on the board of the Emerald Mountain Partnership and is on the parcel selection subcommittee on that board. If this land was put back on the "pick" list, Monger, by the rules that he helped initiate in the Emerald Mountain Partnership, would probably not be eligible to purchase this acreage and would likely not be able to retain the grazing leases. This is a definite, perceived conflict of interest for Monger and he should immediately resign from the Emerald Mountain Partnership.

I refer Commissioner Monger to Colorado State Government Statute 24-18-105 Article 18, "Standards of Conduct,and 'Part One' Code of Ethics":

24-18-105, (2) A public officer, a local government official, or an employee should not acquire or hold an interest in any business or undertaking which he has reason to believe may be directly and substantially affected to its economic benefit by official action to be taken by an agency over which he has substantive authority.

(4) A public officer, a local government official, or an employee should not perform an official act directly and substantially affecting a business or other undertaking to its economic detriment when he has a substantial financial interest in a competing firm or undertaking.

24-18-102 Definitions. (7) "Official Act" or "official action" means any vote, decision, recommendation, approval disapproval, or other action, including inaction, which involves the use of discretionary authority.

Any decision that the Emerald Mountain Partnership makes with respect to land selection or to the process for selection of purchasers, or any other process that affects the ranchers involved in the swap, including those who were eliminated from purchasing the BLM land is questionable, as long as one of the committee members is directly involved as an affected landowner. The voters in Routt County who voted Monger to this position expect him to perform his duties for all the voters in an ethical manner.

Monger cannot serve two masters.

Maynard Short

Citizens to Save our Public Lands

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