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

Photo by Tyler Arroyo

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

Unprecedented pay hike

Sheriff Gary Wall asks county to boost undersheriff's salary

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

— County officials said Monday they have never seen a salary request similar to what Routt County Sheriff Gary Wall has proposed for his second-in-command.

Wall is scheduled to appear before the Routt County Board of Commissioners at 9:35 a.m. today to request that Undersheriff David Bustos receive a starting salary of $82,077, which is a "Step 9" salary on the county's 11-step pay scale. County employees typically receive a one-step pay increase per year of employment, Routt County Personnel Director Chris Hensen said. The county's Step 1 salary for its undersheriff is $64,022.

Although county statute permits Routt County Manager Tom Sullivan to approve a Step 2 or Step 3 starting salary - should the applicant meet specific criteria related to professional experience and education - commissioners must approve any request higher than Step 3.

And since the adoption of the county's 11-step pay scale in 1993, a Step 9 salary has not been requested for a new employee.

"It's never happened here," Sullivan said Monday.

In 2005, Hensen said, commissioners approved Step 5 starting salaries for two new Sheriff's Office employees, former Sgt. Ray Birch and current Dep. Jeff Bond. Birch, now chief of the Hayden Police Department, had prior experience including three military tours of duty, service as an officer with the Pomona Police Department near Los Angeles, and service as chief investigator for Colorado's 14th Judicial District.

County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak said Bond also had years of prior experience, including serving as a deputy for a sheriff's office in Florida.

"Step 9 is fairly high," Stahoviak said about Wall's request.

During a brief meeting Monday with county commissioners, Wall said Bustos is worth the increased salary.

Wall said 23 employees have left the Sheriff's Office in the past two years, largely because of problems with the administration of former Sheriff John Warner. Wall said many of the employees who left were "run out because of fear and intimidation."

"That's the kind of thing Dave Bustos and I will be able to eliminate," Wall said, adding that training new employees costs the county "a minimum of $20,000" each.

"There are specific reasons why people left, and they won't be leaving for those reasons under my administration," Wall said. "Dave Bustos will facilitate that - that's a huge benefit to this county."

Attempts to reach Warner and previous undersheriff Dan Taylor were unsuccessful Monday.

Wall said a Step 9 salary for the undersheriff fits in the county's budget because of the salary of Taylor, a 12-year Sheriff's Office employee whom Wall did not retain.

Although Wall and Bustos worked together in the 1970s as Vail's police chief and assistant police chief, respectively, Bustos' professional experience is unclear because of a lack of dates on his resume.

Commissioner Doug Monger asked Wall to clarify the dates of Bustos' experience before today's meeting. Wall said he would call Bustos and get all the relevant information.

Before his Jan. 9 swearing-in as undersheriff, Bustos worked for American Skiing Co. as a security officer at The Canyons Resort in Utah.

Wall said Bustos will receive his state Peace Officer Standards and Training certifications in late February, and that he has a wealth of life experience that is relevant to the position of undersheriff.

"To take only his experience as a law enforcement officer as qualifications for the undersheriff position is wrong," Wall said. "It's a hugely administrative job. It's managing people, motivating people and improving morale in the department. It's a person's experience in life, in dealing with employees and people, and it's sharing my philosophical views about improving morale : that will reduce dramatically the turnover, which costs the county thousands of dollars. My position is that (Bustos) is exactly that man."

If commissioners approve the Step 9 salary, Bustos will earn more than Wall, whose salary is $76,000 a year.

"I think it's appropriate because of who the person is and because of the amount of money he and I are going to save the county," Wall said. "You can't find good people and bring them in at a low rate."

- To reach Mike Lawrence, call 871-4203

or e-mail mlawrence@steamboatpilot.com

Comments

ihatestupidpeople 7 years, 11 months ago

i want a recall as well and hell and pay raise to i work for the county and frezze my but off and dont get paid enough and then this under qualifed guy want a step 9 pay raise you kidding me i think wall was high at the time

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fish 7 years, 11 months ago

Davinci, you keep talking recalll but as of yet have not seen you do anything about it. It is time for you to put up or shut up. Get off your butt and drive to the courthouse and file the papers. Or do you really not feel that strongly about it? Do you just like to rant?

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Matthew Stoddard 7 years, 11 months ago

Davinci- Recall? I'll sign it in a second. No way someone out of the business for 30yrs with a resume that is evidently not complete, and training that's incomplete deserves that kind of money.

And how practical is it to have an non-trained Undersheriff making more than a non-trained Sheriff? Wouldn't it be more prudent to give that money to the deputies they'll need to replace?

Unreal is correct! Let's hear it for Roscoe P. Coletrain & Enos: the highest paid, non-qualified duo of a lifetime! When's the General Lee and them Duke boys going to take these guys down?

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Matthew Stoddard 7 years, 11 months ago

Oh yeah: that last sentence: "Wall said. "You can't find good people and bring them in at a low rate.""

I guess you can find non-trained people and bring them in at a higher rate, though.

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Camo181 7 years, 11 months ago

Fish -- perhaps Davinci knows that a recall can't be started for 6 months after a public official is elected, or something like that. And, perhaps Davinci is entitled to speak his own mind. Isn't that a part of the civil rights Wall is so adamant about? Wall is bent on showing "us" what he's all about...let him do it. Keep feeding Wall the rope...

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goldilocks 7 years, 11 months ago

This is utterly unbelievable. I was really hoping that Wall would pull his head out and do something positive with his new position. What about pay raises for the rest of the SO employees. I know that those deputies are not getting paid well, and many of the families are struggling due to high medical insurance costs (that is a whole other issue). But it isn't fair that most of the employees there have to work their butts off to make it in this valley, and dingle butt now wants to take more money and put it towards an untrained newbie? I don't think so. Yeah, maybe there is room in the budget, but it was said, Dan Taylor was a 12-YEAR employee. For all that I may have disagreed with Dan about, he still put in the years. Bustos has not shown us ANYTHING, and I mean ANYTHING that deserves this giant pay raise. UNBELIEVABLE!!!

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Matthew Stoddard 7 years, 11 months ago

Hey Goldilocks- Isn't it every ASC rent-a-cop's dream to make that kind of money? Now he'll be able to afford a quarter-share at the Grand, where the new Sheriff's office will be!!!

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freshair 7 years, 11 months ago

The 'people' get the 'leaders' they deserve....ie. through elections. So those of us who instinctively knew Wall was not the man for the job can take some satisfaction as his tenure gets off to a 'rousing' start. Perhaps some among the fools who voted for him may learn to cast their votes more wisely.

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Otto_Stader 7 years, 11 months ago

The amount of pay requested is not at all out of line for someone with similar years of experience in other jobs. In fact, he's probably $10,000 low, especially considering the local cost of living.

Let's see how much success Wall has getting this pay raise. He might have success getting raises for other deputies too. Maybe Wall has some chips to cash in, and they won't be able to tell him no.

All of us agree that good cops should get good pay. Getting the good pay may be the route to getting good cops.

Considering the money wasted by the County in other areas, better pay for cops should be a drop in the local bucket.

Why didn't Warner ever go after this kind of stuff? Didn't care, or didn't have the "juice" to demand it?

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CoJustice 7 years, 11 months ago

Gary's is trying to outwit the Commissioners. If he asks for level 9, he will get level 5 pay. He's just playing poker, and the Commissioners are stupid enough to fall for it. The undersheriff has no current experience or certification. He is technically an entry-level skilled employee

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Matthew Stoddard 7 years, 11 months ago

Otto- That's the problem- neither of them has "years" of experience. It's been years since they've had any experience. Should that qualify them for that much pay?

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weallnutz 7 years, 11 months ago

starting salary for ASC Security guard $9.00/hour, proposed starting salary for security guard turned undersherriff, $43.00/hour.....oh but he's worth it, he was just working as a security guard for the benefits.....what the heck is that idiot doing?????

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goldilocks 7 years, 11 months ago

Otto- you insinuate by your commnet "Getting the good pay may be the route to getting good cops," that the deputies at the SO are not good law enforcement employees. In general, the personnel at the SO, ESPECIALLY the guys on the road, are good cops. So it isn't an issue of getting good cops- they are already there.

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Otto_Stader 7 years, 11 months ago

Okay, so let's confine the issue to getting some good INVESTIGATORS who don't give you the "trout look" when you try to explain how you're being victimized by white collar crime.

How about some folks in the office who can handle paperwork and get the required stuff down to the courthouse, etc.

How about some people from outside who don't have any local dirt on them that can be exploited?

A person who has been a patrol officer in Routt County for 15 years may have a lot of patrol experience, but how much good is that? What about people who have 10 years of investigative experience in a big city? You can't get comprehensive experience in a shallow little goldfish bowl like Routt County. That's not a condemnation of anybody who came up locally, but time on the job is not the same as having broad experience in different kinds of crime.

Some more-experienced outsiders teamed with local old hands might do a lot for the department. There's a lot that goes on in the County that you never hear about, but that doesn't mean it's not illegal or that it's not damaging to everybody in the community.

I know of a homeowner's association where general member dues are being diverted to build roads that serve vacant lots owned by members of the board of directors. Vacant lot owners pay lower dues, so they are getting the same benefit as people with houses on their lots, who pay higher dues. State law says you pay for construction that benefits your property, and it doesn't cost less to place gravel in front of a vacant lot than it does in front of a house. What's the crime? Criminal extortion. When you use the power of the state to collect an assessment for "dues" and then take that money and use it for a purpose that provides a personal benefit to yourself (meaning you are getting more value than you paid for) that's theft under color of official right. It's a crime. There are at least 100 families who own homes in Routt County who are being victimized by exactly this scheme. Isn't the unlawful diversion of something like $50,000 from a group of homeowners a crime?

Let's see how far your patrol officers get with that one. Not very far, I'll bet. This is why we need people who can understand what's going on, and the real harm to the economy and to families that's being done by such white collar criminals.

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Matthew Stoddard 7 years, 11 months ago

Not sure where that development is, but our development in Silver Spur- each lot owner pays the same in dues, whether the lot is vacant or built upon. Plus, vacant lots, if I remember my tax bill correctly, pay a higher percentage in annual property taxes than built upon lots.

Were the built upon lots receiving this same service as far as the paving goes? If not, it sound like a civil matter depending on how the association by-laws are written, and if a quorum vote was used to approve the use of these funds. As for those victimized people, shouldn't they be consulting a lawyer to possibly sue the association?

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CoJustice 7 years, 11 months ago

It's a real rags-to-riches story. Gary is going to squeeze the county for the financial security for himself and his buddy as long as he can. He will interfere with City Police Policy and County deputies enforcement to give the perception he's keeping his campaign promises. Makes a good story.

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Otto_Stader 7 years, 11 months ago

All of the above, Kielbasa. The people pulling this off, however, use HOA funds to hire their own "association" lawyer to oppose homeowner actions. The losing party pays fees if it goes to court (by state law) so that's also a coercive factor against the homeowners.

One guy owns a lot with 150 feet of frontage, and there's a house on it. Another guy owns a lot with 150 feet of frontage, and there's no house. The HOA comes along and paves the road in front of both houses, using money paid into HOA dues. The service is the same. The cost is the same. The benefit is the same. The guy who owns the house paid $500 this year, and the guy who owns the vacant lot paid $50. Who's getting the "good deal" out of this? The guy paying $50.

What if the guy paying $50 per lot owns 100 lots? If the total cost of paving the whole road is $55,000, the guy who owns 100 lots paid $5000 for the same received benefit as the 100 people who paid $500 each ($50,000).

On the average, in this example, each of the 200 lots gets $275 in benefit ($55,000/200). The lots with houses pay $225 too much each. The guy who owns 100 lots pays $225 too little for each lot, and he makes $22,500 on the deal while each homeowner only loses $225. Would you risk getting stuck for thousands in court fees, or pay the $225?

That's what's happening, more or less. The numbers are not exact, but the principle is the same.

The Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act requires costs to be charged against the lot that gets the benefit of construction on the fronting road. The guy with 100 lots is getting something for free because he's not paying the full cost. Since the HOA can put a lien on properties that don't pay dues, and can sue for foreclosure, the guy who controls it has a very nice way to raise money from other people to build roads that will enable him to sell all his vacant lots for a big profit, and he NEVER has to remiburse the other owners.

When you deprive a person of their property without legal authority, it's called theft. Money is property.

State law does not give anybody authority to receive a benefit from HOA operation at the expense of other members. That's why it's theft -- no "legal authority" to confiscate money even though the state grants the POWER to do so through the lien and foreclosure process.

When the HOA uses that power to force people to pay up, it's criminal extortion.

18-3-207. Criminal extortion - aggravated extortion. Statute text (1) A person commits criminal extortion if:

(a) The person, without legal authority and with the intent to induce another person against that other person's will to perform an act . . . makes a substantial threat to . . . cause economic hardship . . . by . . . (II) Invoking action by a third party, including but not limited to, the state or any of its political subdivisions, whose interests are not substantially related to the interests pursued by the person making the threat.

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ihatestupidpeople 7 years, 11 months ago

WHY ARE WE TALKING ABOUT HOA'S WHAT DOES THAT HAVE TO DO WITH THE UNDERSHERIFF CAN I GET SOME CLARIFACTION PLEASE

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Court_Jester 7 years, 11 months ago

Unless you actually voted for Gary Wall and have a problem with his policies/politics, in which case you can take it up with the party, you need to sit down, shut up, and quit whining! You agenda lost! Get over it. The party is now in control of the City Council and Routt County. What is good for the party is good enough for the country. The party will move aggressively forward with its agenda and there is nothing you whiners can do about it.

There is no need to wait for David to prove himself financially worthy of a substantial pay increase whether it be by successfully solving the current problems of the sheriff's office or paper proof of his credibility. It is sufficient that the duly elected sheriff, Gary Wall, believes that the undersheriff is worthy of his wages. You elected Gary Wall as Sheriff for his policies and his judgment skills. You need to allow him to make the changes he sees fit to make, regardless of how ridiculous you may think they are. You are not the sheriff and your opinion on this matter has no bearing.

If you still feel you have to whine about something you can avail yourself of the sheriff's "open door" policy and meet with him in his new offices at the courthouse.

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Otto_Stader 7 years, 11 months ago

Yeah, it's about people knowing the law, recognizing a crime, and protecting the public.

White collar crime of thousands is a serious felony. Maybe the new undersheriff can see that too.

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Matthew Stoddard 7 years, 11 months ago

Jester- That's what recalls are for. I have no doubt that after the 6 month waiting period, it will happen. I have no doubt that a lot of people who voted for Roscoe & Enos will sign it after seeing how irresponsibly Roscoe has been acting so far. We'll see if it changes, but I doubt it.

Otto- White collar crime is still a crime, yes, but in the case you mention, if the courts favor the association, well...they've had their say. That's what the appeals process is for. They'll need a better lawyer.

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hardtobelieve 7 years, 11 months ago

Hey, maybe senility is setting in . . . the guy is way too old to be sheriff. He should be playing golf, collecting social security. It is time for a recall! A terrible mistake has been made in the election for sheriff.

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Hadleyburg_Press 7 years, 11 months ago

Otto_Statter, I just wanted to say that I sincerely respect the fact that you continue to publish the believable tort that was effected upon you. To some it sounds like a redundant bitter rant, but to others it sounds like you are someone who doesn't give up or give in to the tyranny and greed of others. I trully hope that someday you will get relief through a reopening and judicial addressing of your grievences or perhaps satisfaction in knowing that your situation won't befall others in our little hamlet. Davinci, I do not know Gary Wall and did not vote for him. I honestly don't know what the future holds and perhaps your vitriol will be well founded. Having said that though, I am reminded by the fact that in the past you were a leading proponent of increasing the wages of fire , emeregency response, and police personnel. Doesn't the deputy fall into this catagory? Just a passing thought not intended to offend.

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Otto_Stader 7 years, 11 months ago

Qualified.

Everybody keeps running around acting like being POST qualified is some big achievement.

Read my post in the other thread.

POST has to be one of the simplest, shortest and easiest certification programs on the planet. It takes more training just to legally draw blood from somebody's arm. Commercial truck driving school takes just as long, and it's probably harder.

Unbelievable.

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ihatestupidpeople 7 years, 11 months ago

otto you are dumb and once your are cert. you need to use the protocalls of your dept. and really know them. to bad werner left it was good back in the day

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Otto_Stader 7 years, 11 months ago

davinci,

Go read the Colorado requirements. They're available to Google.

Phlebototomy certification in a state like California requires over 1000 hours. Maybe Colorado needs some higher standards all around.

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ihatestupidpeople 7 years, 11 months ago

davinci how about just being married to one and having to deal with all the days and weeks and nights of training that they( emts, ff, paramedics, troopers, dep, pd officers, doctors, and anyone else that i forgot) have to still do to just stay certified i know that my wife has spent about 8 wks this summer training for the job. otto is a flaming idiot. we will not back down

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Otto_Stader 7 years, 11 months ago

Davinci,

The truth is that the average law enforcment officer has courage and integrity, but is operating at an intellectual level considerably below that of trained professionals in science, medicine and engineering. Frankly, a lot of you do things that are so outright DUMB, we cannot understand what's going on.

I guess this is the disconnect.

And it means that, because we have to depend on high school grads with 3 to 6 months of academy training, we cannot expect a whole lot more. You guys are not put in a place to grow intellectually, and you don't. That's why smart crooks victimize all of us. It's just not that hard to fool or confuse you, and if you don't understand the underlying concepts of the law, how can you really protect us from anything but overt acts of theft and violence?

You can't. That's why people are stealing millions and you don't even know it's going on.

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ihatestupidpeople 7 years, 11 months ago

OTTO so are you saying that our loved ones, spouse, friends or even us are dumb because we did not go to 12 yrs of school to be bill nye the science guy. why dont you take it and put it where the sun dont shine. there are only so many of us that can patrol unless you want to pay more to have more officers on and have one on every street then shut up and this will still happen

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JQPUBLIC 7 years, 11 months ago

otto... you seem to have a real major problem with your HOA, why don't you initiate a recall of the HOA's elected officials, then get the new officials to use the associations lawyer to sue the recalled HOA officers for misappropriation of funds, or is it just you with the problem? Why don't you homeowners do something instead of waiting for our tax dollars to do it for you!

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Otto_Stader 7 years, 11 months ago

It's obvious that there is not going to be a meeting of the minds.

I sincerely do appreciate the sacrifices made by police officers, and I respect what they do. The problems are almost always with the leadership, and I'd say that fits our situation perfectly.

There is an opportunity for change, and it will play out over the next four years. I guess we'll see what happens.

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