Wall makes quick changes

New sheriff begins to clean house, names Bustos undersheriff

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New Routt County Sheriff Gary Wall, left, shakes the hand of Routt County Chief Judge Michael O'Hara during a swearing-in ceremony Tuesday afternoon. Pictured with Wall is girlfriend Jenny Wilson.

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David Bustos was sworn in as Routt County's new Undersheriff on Tuesday.

— It didn't take long for new Routt County Sheriff Gary Wall to make his presence felt.

On Tuesday, Wall was sworn into office in a crowded Routt County Courthouse courtroom. Also taking the oath of office were new Undersheriff David Bustos, 13 patrol deputies, 15 detention deputies and five Sheriff's Office administrative staff members.

Absent from the ceremony were former Under-sheriff Dan Taylor, Sgt. Dan Kelliher and Investigator Rachelle Red-mond. They were informed Monday there would not be positions for them in Wall's department.

"I have chosen who to give commissions to," Wall said Tuesday. "(Former Sheriff) John Warner gave commissions to people that I will not.

"Any new sheriff is entitled to do whatever he chooses."

That included a swearing-in ceremony separate from the Tuesday morning ceremony for the county's other recently elected officials. Wall said he wanted a separate ceremony so that it would "be special."

"I thought it was wonderful," he said after the lengthy ceremony. "I wanted this to be a special occasion. There's a new sheriff. I wanted them to get a flavor of how I operate."

A diverse group of about 100 people attended the ceremony, including county employees, local attorneys, law enforcement officers and government officials.

During a brief statement, Wall thanked his supporters and told Sheriff's Office employees he looked forward to the future.

"I am very aware of the responsibilities of the office of sheriff. I'm truly honored the citizens of Routt County elected me," he said.

Redmond, who appeared at the ceremony to support her former colleagues, said she was informed of Wall's decision at about 2 p.m. Monday.

"It certainly didn't leave a lot of time for me to prepare the cases I was in the middle of, but I did the best I could (Tuesday) morning," she said.

Redmond, a 16-year Sheriff's Office employee, said she had been preparing for a transition since Wall's election. Redmond would have been undersheriff if Republican sheriff candidate Garrett Wiggins had been elected by voters Nov. 7.

"Whichever way the election went, I knew my position with the Sheriff's Office was going to change," she said. "I just didn't know what Wall had in his mind for me."

Kelliher, who had worked for the Sheriff's Office since March 2001, said he was shocked when he learned he was out of a job.

"I don't know why he made that decision," Kelliher said. "He certainly doesn't have to have a reason. I'm still a little numb.

"My hope is that I can continue my law enforcement career here. I don't know where or how I'll do it, though."

Taylor, a 12-year Sheriff's Office employee, was unavailable for comment Tuesday.

Wall declined to say why he didn't retain certain Sheriff's Office employees.

- To reach Alexis DeLaCruz, call 871-4234

or e-mail adelacruz@steamboatpilot.com

Comments

WZ 7 years, 11 months ago

You're the boss. Clean house, Wall. It's time for a change.

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river_tam 7 years, 11 months ago

Steamboat has a new Sheriff, Rural Routt County doesn't! Must be great to carry the city precincts, which you don't serve and loose to the county precincts you do serve.

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Getitright 7 years, 11 months ago

Who is this Bustos? Is he a sworn officer? Will he burden the tax payers by having to go through the academy with Wall? Can Wall just fire employees without cause? Just a few questions the Pilot should ask.

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JustAsking 7 years, 11 months ago

Seems a reasonable political move to me. Why come into the position and evaluate staff on job performance when you have the opportunity to be small and vindictive?

After all this will serve to make sure your "staff" stays in line during the next election and voice no alternate opinions during your tenure.

Another Democrat who practices "think like I think or else!"

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another_local 7 years, 11 months ago

Some individuals have made it clear during and after the election that they will not work with Wall. Those individuals need to leave. I don't know any of the people involved and have not followed the details well enough to know if the ones asked to leave are in this group, but if they are, fair enough; time to go.

Fire employees without cause? Sure thing, it happens everyday. Welcome to the world the rest of us (those not working in the public sector) live in.

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OneFly 7 years, 11 months ago

Run run the haters are out the haters are out. Why are you so hateful Ann?

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ihatestupidpeople 7 years, 11 months ago

because she like to have dep. respond when they are need and have good ones at that.

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OneFly 7 years, 11 months ago

Hack hack the air is so bad and so is much of the nonsense from you

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Camo181 7 years, 11 months ago

After reading the article on Wall this morning, I am astounded at the lack of humanity in Wall's comments. Redmond worked her way up the ranks, is known and highly respected out here in the County, as did Dan Kelliher; both have families they now need to find a way to support. What gives Wall? Fulfilling campaign promises for very personal friends? Maybe you could hire your "dear" friend, Oak Creek's current, so-called Chief of Police, then Kelliher could come back and be our new Chief. Your attitude and comments, Mr. Wall, are strongly reminiscent of the former Mayor of Oak Creek, Cargo Rodeman. Oh, by the way, we miss seeing your truck parked at her house--night and day. Good luck to Steamboat's new sheriff--they voted him in, they deserve him.

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goldilocks 7 years, 11 months ago

We should demand to know what the "reasons" for firing Redmond and Keliher are. Wall is very misguided in saying that he is entitled to do as he chooses. Colorado is not an at will firing state. He has to have legitimate reason to fire employees. These two individuals are excellent professionals, and the county will surely miss their services. Now what is Wall going to do tofill those positions? Bring in more "deserving" individuals who need to be trained and certified? Good luck! I hope Rochelle and Dan know that they have the support of the community that they have served.

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onethought 7 years, 11 months ago

You should check the colorado laws, a newly elected sheriff may choose to not, re-new any persons commission if he so chooses. Deputies are commissioned officers.

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concerned 7 years, 11 months ago

I would like to add that several people are mentioning the close relationship with the so called "politicians" or "leaders" of Oak Creek. Thank goodness that Oak Creek now has a mayor with the true concerns about the community.

As far as the so-called chief of police she would fit right in with Gary Wall's lack of experience department. I would love to have Dan Kelliher as chief of police in Oak Creek again. I no longer feel safe in Oak Creek. The only reason I felt safe to start with because of the good deputies we had surrounding our community. Now that Gary Wall has taken that away there is bound to be serious concequences in the well being of Oak Creek community members.

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papafu 7 years, 11 months ago

After reading the above comments it appears that there are a few folks in our great Yampa Valley who are quite opinionated one way or the other whether liberal or conservative. It would be nice to live in a place where we could all focus on cooperating and doing what is best for all instead of seeming so negative. I'm sure if Sheriff Wall's opponent had won the election, he would have chosen his staff based on his philosophy of who should and who should not work under him. The electorate spoke. Let's work together to get the job done. If the job doesn't get done the way we think it should, we can vote in a new Sheriff during the next election. I think that's what a democratic society is all about.

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onethought 7 years, 11 months ago

How can you call the sheriff dept in whole as "lack of experience department" what about all the very experienced and excellent officers that are still officers? You very easily slam a bunch of public servants who are willing to put their lives on the line for all of us citizens, without thought of them. Maybe Oak Creek should go to the new mayor and talk to him about hiring Dan Kelliher.

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Papergirl 7 years, 11 months ago

Wall and Bustos make a great team with lots of common sense between them. Steamboat is fortunate.

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Matthew Stoddard 7 years, 11 months ago

Papergirl- How is Steamboat fortunate? City police handle things there, not the sheriff.

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river_tam 7 years, 11 months ago

Papergirl - Gary Wall, Sheriff of the City and County of Steamboat Springs. What happened to Routt County? Oh! I forgot the "Peoples Republic of Steamboat Springs" (Who are not served by the Sheriffs Department) know what's best for the rest of Routt County.

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Hmmm 7 years, 11 months ago

Gary Wall has done what he has done. My question is this; how can you just fire 2 deputies that have committed over 20 years to Routt County and not give them any advanced warning? Both of these people have families to raise and bills to pay. If Wall is sooo great, why couldn't he have given them a heads up 2 months ago that he did not plan on keeping them when he was sworn in (I'm sure he has known that he wasn't keeping them)? He could have at least been an adult about the situation, informed them that they would not be kept and the reason why, and given them a chance to prepare. He threw those 2 people out on the street like trash; 2 people who have lived in the valley for a lot of years and committed themselves to Routt County.

Fine, Wall didn't like them and didn't want them around. At the very least he should have given them a fighting chance to prepare and find another way to support their families. I have fired people and it is not a pleasant experience, but I at least gave those people fair warning and a chance to prepare. Karma is real! I've found that out in my lifetime and so will Gary Wall.

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concerned 7 years, 11 months ago

Mr. Wall, throughout your campaign for sherriff, haven't you said that you would stand up for citizens civil liberties? Are the deputies that you fired not citizens of Routt county? What about their civil liberties? I demand that you publicly announce the reasons for their dismissal. I think that the rest of Routt County will agree. Also, I think it quite odd that you wait until your swaring in to announce your undersherriff. Was it because you didn't want the voters to know that neither one of you is a POST certified law enforcement officer? I am disgusted that the voters would elect you knowing that we would have to pay for your education, let alone your undersherriff. As for my previous comment, I do not think that the entire sherrifs office is lack of experience, only their new leaders.

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Hmmm 7 years, 11 months ago

The Steamboat Pilot should have focused a little more attention on the careers of the 2 deputies who were fired and the committment they gave to Routt County (over 20 years combined); plus both people have lived in Routt County for many years, raised families here, and love the valley. What are they to do now that they were thrown away like pieces of trash? Not even given time to prepare, just discarded like junk. The newest rumor is that the new Sheriff didn't even give these 2 deputies their dismissal papers in person, he made someone else do it. The Steamboat Pilot should look into this firing a little more and ask some questions.

What do the County Commissioners think about this unprofessional act bestowed upon 2 deputies who have committed careers to Routt County? They need to ask Wall some questions as well.

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ThreeJobs 7 years, 11 months ago

Hope they didn't live in "affordable housing" because if they had to relocate out of the county they would be faced with trying to sell their house with unfortunate contractual restrictions.

Think about the possibility of a family that is forced to relocate but can't sell their "affordable" house.

No income for at least some period. Then a house payment and probably rent in the new location along with all the expenses of moving.

On the other hand a relocation funded by an unrestricted property sale would surely be less tramatic both financially and mentally.

I hope those who unfortunately lost their jobs aren't in the "affordable housing" trap.

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cheesehead 7 years, 11 months ago

what the hell does that have to do with this article?

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Camo181 7 years, 11 months ago

It needs to be said again. I would bet the dismissal of Dan Kelliher is the fulfillment of personal campaign promises. The "white knight in shining armor" (Wall) vindicating real or imagined (leaning strongly on the "imagined" side) injustices against two of Wall's Oak Creek "fair maidens." Integrity is definiely not one of Wall's strong points. Honesty apparently isn't either. Bet ya he'll never own up to the truth in this matter. He doesn't have to ... yet.

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Camo181 7 years, 11 months ago

Shades of someone from Oak Creek ... Wall has a good mentor down here. Check out the personal scores settled after the recent former Mayor got into office -- almost 5 years of it.

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JQPUBLIC 7 years, 11 months ago

Looks like the politics in Routt County will become the same farce, as was the politics in Oak Creek (fueled by the same people). Oak Creek's ex-mayor used Wall as a PI to clear her choices for officers in OC, what a joke that was. Looks like Wall's first act as the new sheriff is to prove himself a liar. The following statements were made by Wall as reported in the pilot: "I have met with several officers at the Sheriff's Office and talked to them about my philosophies," he said. "I wanted to put them at ease that I'm not going to come in there and clean house" and "I'm not going to walk in there and make all these sweeping changes without getting employee input first" and "he will make changes only after analyzing current policies." Now, if 3 officers were fired Monday and Wall wasn't sworn in until Tuesday, just how much "analyzing" did he have time to do before he cleaned house? Where was the input from these 3 officers? Yep... he lied. I don't know what the other 2 hardworking officers did to threaten Wall (or his backers) but Keliher should know exactly why he was fired, he stepped on a lot of drunks' and druggies' toes during his time in OC and their lies and accusations have ruined many a good career. You know, with Dan off patrol there should be a sigh of relief from a couple of people in high places. Camo explained it well and it will all come out in the wash sooner or later; it may have taken 5 years but the citizens of OC finally wised up about their ex-mayor and the citizens of RoCo will do the same about her friend Wall, hopefully before he can do as much damage as she did. Goldilocks... demanding a reason for the firing from someone that thinks that as sheriff he is entitled to do anything he wants to do is completely inane, I'm afraid that RoCo has the same mentality in their sheriff as OC had in their ex-mayor, and have mercy on anyone that gets in the way or questions their actions, it's either follow blindly or suffer the wrath.

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ThreeJobs 7 years, 11 months ago

Note to Cheesehead. Obviously you know or read nothing about the other major topic of debate here. I can assure you that public servants are one of the groups that are supposed to be helped by "affordable housing". I was just pointing out that if they were unfortunate enought to find themselves in this situation, as any replacements from "outside" might well be, that they would be further harmed.

You can be assured if the fired persons had fallen into the affordable housing trap currently being touted it would be very much part of the story.

Expand your horizons, Cheesehead, and see how politics and policy have impact beyond a single track myoptic view.

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