County asks for clarification

Sheriff's vehicle-use policies prompt questions

Advertisement

— County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak has written a letter to Sheriff Gary Wall asking Wall to clarify which county policies he thinks apply to the Sheriff's Office.

The letter was written in the wake of Wall's announcement that he would allow deputies to use their patrol vehicles for personal use. That runs contrary to county policies.

Wall made his policy announcement two weeks ago after Undersheriff David Bustos was involved in a minor traffic accident in his county-owned vehicle in Vernal, Utah, in May.

Wall was unavailable for comment Wednesday. Repeated calls to his office and cell phone were not returned.

County officials have said the Sheriff's Office typically abides by the county's motor pool policy, which prohibits personal use of county vehicles unless for business. Under the county's policy, Sheriff's Office deputies were allowed to drive vehicles home, unlike other county employees.

Stahoviak has asked Wall to respond to her letter by July 13.

"We really want a written response so we're clear which policies (Wall) believes his employees fall under and which policies they do not," she said Wednesday. "It's important for us to clarify his position so we can evaluate those policies and see how they impact us."

Stahoviak's letter states that there are "a number of policies required by federal law, state law and the county's insurance" that Wall must address.

"If it is your position that your office is not subject to these policies, then you need to immediately adopt policies that address the areas required by these laws and the county's insurance," the letter states.

Stahoviak also said Wall's positions could affect his 2008 budget.

"We strongly believe that the failure to comply with these policies could result in the board's refusal to pay for purchases and contracts not made in compliance with these policies," the letter states. "We ask you state in writing whether you believe you are not subject to these policies."

Stahoviak said the county is interested in "knowing what's going on" at the Sheriff's Office and improving communication.

"It's all in how you do it," she said. "Any elected official can make his or her own policies, but we need to have that interaction on what that means. We haven't had that interaction with" Wall.

Wall reportedly sent an e-mail to County Manager Tom Sullivan asking for a regular meeting time on the county's Tuesday agenda, which Stahoviak thinks is a good idea.

"There aren't many times that the sheriff comes before us," she said. "So, I think it would be a good to have him come to us more regularly to have those interactions."

Comments

localthinker 7 years, 5 months ago

I beleive that the benefit of having officers having their patrol vehicles at home, for immediate use, is justified. The potential need for off duty officers to repond to an emergency close to their home, or else where in the county, is justification enough, in my opinion. This policy is not out of line with other rural counties.

0

thecondoguy1 7 years, 5 months ago

even when you rent a car you are required to state whether or not you will be driving it out of state, it would not be unreasonable for the countys insurance carrier to have that information........ communication???????????????

0

Camo181 7 years, 5 months ago

I also think it's a good idea for officers to drive their patrol vehicles to and from work as outlined by localthinker; however, I believe Mr. Bustos crossed the line by taking a county-owned vehicle on a shopping trip, out of state. If Mr. Wall doesn't get his act together on this issue and define what is proper use or not, none of the deputies should be allowed to take their vehicles home. Bustos' use, out of state with a county-owned vehicle, is a prime example of poor judgment (regardless of his accident) and a rip off for the taxpayers of Routt County. Wall and Bustos are supposedly the leaders of the Sheriff's Department. They both need to start acting like it. And, Wall not being able to be reached for comment.....hummm!

0

localthinker 7 years, 5 months ago

I believe that the benefit of having officers having their patrol vehicles at home, for immediate use, is justified. The potential need for off duty officers to repond to an emergency close to their home, or else where in the county, is justification enough, in my opinion. This policy is not out of line with other rural counties.

0

Matthew Stoddard 7 years, 5 months ago

Camo- Wall only talked about an open door policy when taking office. I'm sure phones are not included in that and the open door didn't have to mean anyone was home.

0

CoJustice 7 years, 5 months ago

I would also like to see how Wall is documenting his mileage to and from work in regards to his taxes, and how this is being reported to the IRS.

0

Lazy_H 7 years, 5 months ago

I support the take home care program for the sheriff's deputies. However, using the vehicle for out of town personal activities is stretching the concept. When the Undersheriff was in Vernal on personal business, that is not the same as being available for calls.

It seems that Sheriff Wall is not making a sincere effort to work with the commissioners to best serve the taxpayers. Our commissioners have a proven track record of good management and Wall is the new guy. He needs to stop challenging the commissioners at every turn. Wall needs to remember that the voters, taxpayers and citizens of Routt County expect him to work within the system. If policies NEED to be changed, the changes should be acceptable to the commissioners who ultimately pay the cost of such changes.

0

dundalk 7 years, 5 months ago

Queenie:

I would agree with you, but what about Bustos, who maintains a residence in Vernal?

0

Camo181 7 years, 5 months ago

Kielbasa -- thank you for clarifying Wall's "open door" policy...and, you're right, nobody's home.

0

JQPUBLIC 7 years, 5 months ago

Stahoviak... Thanks, and I hope you keep the public informed, it's time for the "git 'er done" crowd to see exactly "what" they elected to office; hopefully some of them have realized they need to do their own homework, not just listen to the biggest mouth on the soapbox.

It's about time someone told Wall that he was elected Sheriff of Routt County, not King of Wally's World. I am always ready for a good joke, just not having one elected to office.

0

Matthew Stoddard 7 years, 5 months ago

Question: Was the table in Vernal for Bustos' office, at least? I'd feel...(looking at a space between thumb and forefinger as they are pressed tightly together) that much better if it were at least for his office at work. Not much better, though.

0

Queenie 7 years, 5 months ago

Clarification: Sheriff's Deputies ARE allowed to drive their county vehicles home....that is mute point here.

0

JQPUBLIC 7 years, 5 months ago

Ahhh, Give 'em a break....the Commissioners put a stop to the big bucks Wall had promised Bustos so naturally King Wall changed county policy to allow Prince Bustos all the quirks he needed to make up for salary loss. Another campaign promise fulfilled? Wall must take care of his buddies lest there be trouble in paradise.

0

Matthew Stoddard 7 years, 5 months ago

Queenie- I'll second what JQ said on this one, so that means it's not a "moot" point.

0

stunnedindaboat 7 years, 5 months ago

I agree with officers on call to be allowed to keep their patrol cars at their homes to be used for emergencies. I don't think the vehicles should be used for personal business. We bought and paid for them, we pay the insurance, we pay the gas, we pay service and we pay for body damage. Notice the theme...we pay. We should have seen the writing in the "wall" in January when the Sheriff had his own private swearing in, from that day on the King went on his thrown. Well, only three and a half more years of this term, looks what's been done in less than six months!

0

dundalk 7 years, 5 months ago

I just sent an e-mail to Fox News/Bill O'Reilly. Let's see if this gets picked up nationally, before Wall has cost us more than some of you bargained for.

0

Queenie 7 years, 5 months ago

WHOA! My only point is that they get to take their county vehicles home...that's it home. So why argue that they should be able to when they already do? I totally agree that it should stop there.

I would love to see Wall "chat" with Bill O'Reilly.

0

dundalk 7 years, 5 months ago

Queenie: Wouldn't that be the best show for that particular day? And just to make it more lively, Bill could get Ann Coulter to appear for the extra "Bam"!

0

stunnedindaboat 7 years, 5 months ago

The Sheriff and Undersheriff are a joke. A bad joke and a sad joke. Can we survive another 3 1/2 years?? Can we survive another 6 1/2 months? If this continues I am afraid that the community will look upon everyone at the Sheriff's Office as a joke. That is the sad part because many (most have left) officers are professionals, ETHICAL, hard working and dedicated to their job...did I mention ETHICAL? As a parent I will do all I can to make sure the King's "term in office" ends at the end of the four years if not sooner. Is this the kind of person we want to trust the lives and future of our children with? It's too late for the seniors in Routt County according to Sheriff Wall (I have to wince everytime I say Sheriff Wall) these are the ones who lived here, raised their family and gave everything they had to the County for decades..not worth the money according to (sorry have to say it again) Sheriff Wall. But making sure the Undersheriff makes a huge check, make us pay for all the charges, takes our..yes OUR property out of the county, out of the state, wreck it and we pay for it IS worth the money. Anything wrong with that picture? We own the vehicles, King Gary does not. We elected him, now lets UNELECT him before it is to late. This guy is nuts. Maybe it's time for a moose drive instead of a cattle drive! SUFOS SAVE US FROM OUR SHERIFF! We deserve so much more, we're not Vail in the 70's.

0

stunnedindaboat 7 years, 5 months ago

I found a nice sofa in Steamboat, could I get the Undersheriff's truck to take it home for me? I think I am already paying the gas and insurance on it..and it actually is in OUR town and OUR county within OUR STATE. It doesn't look like a moose but it is still very nice!

0

Requires free registration

Posting comments requires a free account and verification.