Steamboat Springs The two candidates for Routt County sheriff are squaring off over whether they should release their personnel files to the public.
On Thursday, Democratic candidate Gary Wall authorized the Steamboat Pilot & Today to obtain copies of his personnel files from the Aspen and Vail police departments, for which Wall worked as an officer and chief in the 1960s and '70s.
Wall suggested that Republican candidate Garrett Wiggins also release his personnel files - from the Quincy (Fla.) Police Department, Routt County Sheriff's Office and Steamboat Springs Police Department - and allow Wiggins' supervisors to discuss any aspect of his employment.
On Friday, Wiggins said he would not authorize such a release based upon advice from his supervisors.
"I have been advised by my administrators not to allow my personnel files to be open to the public. I'm going to have to follow their recommendations," Wiggins said.
Wiggins said his decision not to authorize the release of the files does not mean he is withholding anything from voters.
"I have absolutely nothing to hide in any of my personnel files. I have been forthcoming and admitted to a reprimand that is nearly 20 years old," he said. "If anyone has questions relative to my employment history, I will be more than happy to answer those questions."
Wiggins' refusal to release the files is a disservice to the residents of Routt County, Wall said.
"I think that somebody running for sheriff should release all their personnel files so that the people of Routt County know exactly who they're voting for," he said. "This isn't an election based solely on credentials and work experience, it's an election based on honesty, integrity and character. The only way those qualities can be exposed is to have all the past records exposed, especially those relating to law enforcement."
In recent weeks, Wall has criticized Wiggins for being a patrol officer for two decades without being promoted to a supervisory position.
"These files are so important because Mr. Wiggins is asking the people to give him a promotion when he has never even been promoted to the role of investigator," Wall said. "The people of Routt County should know why."
During an online chat on Steamboatpilot.com on Friday, Wiggins dismissed claims that he lacks supervisory experience.
"I managed a large private corporation where I was responsible for as many as 70 employees, a million-dollar budget and a several-million-dollar inventory," Wiggins wrote. "I managed this facility for over three years, and I have a proven track record for my supervisory and management skills. The amount of employees and the size of the budget that I was responsible for is much larger than the budget and staffing of the entire Vail Police Department in the late 1970s."
The Steamboat Pilot & Today is in the process of obtaining Wall's personnel files from his stints in Aspen and Vail.
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