Routt County is seeking to move a case involving the termination of former chief building official Mark Marchus from district court to federal court.
In a petition filed May 20, the county said the case involves federal law and should be heard by a federal court.
Marchus, who is running for county commissioner, filed a civil case against the county at the end of April challenging the county's decision to fire him and stating the county has violated his constitutional right to due process.
The case asks for a declaratory judgment that the county's termination of Marchus and subsequent actions are unconstitutional and go against county policies.
A federal judge should hear the case, the county's recent petition stated.
"In this case, removal to federal court is proper because the plaintiff's claims arise under the U.S. Constitution," the petition stated.
Attorney Charles Feldmann, who represents Marchus, said that county's request is "absurd."
"We chose Routt County because that's where all the issues are. All the witnesses are from Routt County, the subject matter of this litigation is Routt County," Feldmann said.
"I just see it as another move by the county to make sure nobody here ever sees the light of this case."
Marchus was terminated Feb. 18 on allegations that he did not create a good working environment at the department and violated county gift polices by taking trash stones from a contractor. Marchus has denied those allegations.
In the past month, the county has filed a civil suit against Marchus to get him to return two missing personnel files. Marchus said in court at the end of April that he did not have the files. A status conference for that case is scheduled for June 3.
The recent filings reveal more information on what led up to Marchus' termination.
A January letter from County Manager Tom Sullivan to Marchus brings up the trash stone incident and also said that Marchus made statements, perhaps jokingly, that he would accept bribes in exchange for materials.
The letter also said Marchus' "unprofessional" representation of the department could be seen in a shouting match that took place during a meeting on fire code, an altercation with a city planner and Marchus' misrepresentation of information to the City Council.
"I am convinced that you will never be an effective manager of the Routt County Building Department, and you have lost my trust," the letter from Sullivan read.
Marchus said the charges are being blown "way out of proportion."
"Even collectively, there's nothing there that should have warranted a department head being fired," Marchus said.
Marchus will be on the Republican primary ballot for a county commissioner seat in District 2. District 2 Republican candidate Jeff Fry received enough support at the Republican County Assembly to get on the primary ballot, but Marchus received only 27 percent of the vote instead of the 30 percent he needed.
Marchus on Tuesday turned in a petition to get on the ballot, and the county clerk verified that the petition was sufficient Thursday.
"I want to thank the people who signed the petition and supported me," Marchus said.