Steamboat Springs In an increasingly bitter race for the Routt County Sheriff’s Office, even parking has become an issue.
Routt County Manager Tom Sullivan has asked Sheriff Gary Wall to remove his pickup, with a large plywood campaign sign in the back, from the parking lot at the Routt County Sheriff’s Office to remove any perception that he is using county resources in his campaign against All Crimes Enforcement Team Cmdr. Garrett Wiggins.
Sullivan, in an Oct. 5 e-mail to Wall, told him the Routt County Board of Commissioners would like the truck to be removed the next day. It still was parked in the same location, along the edge of the parking lot facing U.S. Highway 40, on Friday night, more than a week later.
Sullivan wrote that it does not appear to be a violation of the Fair Campaign Practices Act, but “commissioners feel that it is being perceived by the public as an abuse of county resources.”
Wall said there was no reason for people to think he was using county resources.
“I’m not using county resources,” he said. “I’m entitled to park my truck wherever anybody else can park their truck. I mean, it’s a public parking lot.”
Sullivan’s e-mail suggested possible recourse if Wall didn’t move the vehicle.
“If the truck remains in its current location, Garrett Wiggins … will be notified that he also has the option of parking a vehicle in the same area with his campaign sign on it,” the e-mail said.
Wiggins said Friday that he does not intend to take advantage of that offer.
Sullivan said Friday that he thought the parking location seemed reasonable if Wall was driving the truck to and from work every day, but that’s not the case.
“It shouldn’t be left there 24 hours a day like it has been,” he said.
Wall denies that he’s done anything wrong. He said after he got the e-mail, he started parking the truck in a regular parking spot and driving it to work every day.
“I drove my truck to work and parked it where he told me to park it,” Wall said.
He also denied that he acted improperly.
“I haven’t done anything wrong. You don’t contact someone unless they’ve done something wrong,” he said.
Sullivan also told Wall in the e-mail that he had reports of Wall’s decals stuck on Sheriff’s Office vehicles. Sullivan said he did not confirm the allegations before sending the e-mail to Wall, but he has not seen the decals since then.
Wall spoke from a Denver-area hospital Friday, where he was being treated for bleeding in his brain.
Sullivan said he spoke to the commissioners and sent the e-mail after hearing complaints from residents.
Rich Coolidge, spokesman for the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office, said the sign would be treated something like a bumper sticker. Campaign law violations are investigated when complaints are made, he said.
Sullivan said the only possible violations of campaign law would come if Wall, or any other candidate, were to drive a vehicle with stickers or signs within 100 feet of a polling place.
Wall said he would comply if the rules changed.
“If the commissioners want to pass a resolution banning political signs from county property, let them do that, and I will comply with anything they do that is lawful.”