County commissioner Nancy Stahoviak listens to a speaker during a meeting for First Impressions of Routt County on Wednesday at the courthouse.

Photo by John F. Russell

County commissioner Nancy Stahoviak listens to a speaker during a meeting for First Impressions of Routt County on Wednesday at the courthouse.

Nancy Stahoviak returns to courthouse

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— Routt County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak was back at her desk in the downtown courthouse Monday for the first time since she suffered injuries to both shoulders Feb. 8 in a one-car accident in wintry conditions on Colorado Highway 131.

The veteran commissioner had been participating in county deliberations for nearly six months via telephone conference calls. It was easy to tell from the tone of her voice this week that she was pleased to be taking part in person again.

“I feel great. I really feel good,” Stahoviak said. “I have some pain in my right shoulder, but I can do everything I need to do.”

Stahoviak was a passenger, riding in her wheelchair, in the back of a van driven by her husband, Ron, and traveling northbound toward Steamboat Springs when it slid on an icy patch of highway.

The van crossed Colorado Highway 131 and ended up on its side.

Stahoviak said she had a reverse replacement of her left shoulder during a surgical procedure in Denver and a pin inserted in her right shoulder.

Stahoviak frequently helps to crystallize the discussion on everything from budget matters to development permits. She acknowledged it was difficult to play that role via weekly conference calls.

“Sometimes I just had to wait for a conversation to develop,” she said. “You don’t have the same interaction with people over the phone. The personal interaction is not the same.”

Commission Chairwoman Diane Mitsch Bush said Stahoviak was so well prepared during her convalescence that she was able to fully participate in hearings, although something is missing when you can’t read another person’s body language and facial expressions.

“She’s very effective on the phone,” Mitsch Bush said. “She prepares and she reads all of her materials. I don’t think we’d have reached any different decisions” if she had been physically present at the hearings.

The first half of 2011 was not the first time Stahoviak had to participate remotely in county commissioner discussions. She endured a lengthy illness beginning in 2003 and continuing off and on through 2004 and the majority of 2005. The illness ultimately resulted in the amputation of a portion of her left leg after doctors concluded she was not a candidate for a prosthesis. She has been a wheelchair user since that time.

Stahoviak said she might have returned to the courthouse the previous week, but a last-minute hitch with the wheelchair lift in her van necessitated a repair.

“I’ve had the support of everyone to be able to do this and I sure appreciate it,” Stahoviak said.

— To reach Tom Ross, call (970) 871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com

Comments

spidermite 2 years, 9 months ago

Don't the taxpayers own this van? Aren't we responsible for all the maintenance and expenses associated with it? You would think we would keep it in better shape!

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scott selby 2 years, 8 months ago

From the Pilot: "Birch said Colorado State Patrol troopers responded to the crash and handled the scene. That agency issued a summons to Ron Stahoviak for careless driving causing injury, trooper Adam Winsett said."

Commissioner Stahoviak's husband was ticketed for the accident. So I inquired as to if the county would seek restitution from him for Commissioner Stahoviak's medical care. I was informed that they would not do so because it would deny Mrs. Stahoviak of her benefit of health insurance paid for by the county. If the accident had been caused by someone un-related to the Commissioner, then would the county have sought restitution. The County is now partially self-insured. Meaning the first $75,000 of health care expenses comes directly from county funds. Did Mr. Stahoviak's auto insurance pay for this or did the tax payer? These are questions I posed to the county and received no answer. They gave HIPPA regulations as a reason. Interesting that the details of procedures can be in the paper, but who paid for them is Protected Health Information.

I am all for county employees receiving quality health care benefits. I am also all for individuals responsible for accidents being held responsible. Because the county has elected not to disclose this information, it is impossible to tell whether this has occurred in this instance.

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spidermite 2 years, 8 months ago

Scott, The van is county owned. Insurance would be paid by the county, right? We all have to pay taxes to keep our government functioning. They have a fiduciary duty to us. They should be accountable to us. It looks like your question was ignored because possibly $75,000.00 of the tax payers money went to the commissioners auto accident! This money should have been used for repairs and improvements in our county!

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scott selby 2 years, 8 months ago

It just makes me curious why all the usual Steamboat Tea Partiers would remain silent on an issue like this. It does make one wonder if they truly have any convictions to back up their over discussed beliefs. I have been dubbed a Socialist, Marxist, Liberal in their commetns, but I clearly know that this does not make any sense. I have no idea about the ownership of the van. Perhaps that is another issue that should be addressed.

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spidermite 2 years, 8 months ago

Doug Monger has bloged before. He reads the comments. Clear this up for us Doug. Who owns the van? Who paid for the accident?

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scott selby 2 years, 8 months ago

It is less than surprising that Commissioner Monger did not answer. He receives the same type of health care coverage. He and Commissioner Stahoviak just voted last week to go against county policy for the paving on 18. If you make it up as you go, you gotta cover each other's backs.

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mtroach 2 years, 8 months ago

Why would the county be providing a van for a county commish to travel back and forth to work? It should be easy to see if any commish gets a "company" car. I was under the impression from the original article that the van was owned and operated by Nancy's husband. The same person cited for causing the accident.

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spidermite 2 years, 8 months ago

mtroach, I hope your correct and Nancy and her husband own the vehicle. This would make them responsible for it's repair. This was a very expensive van. I was told the vehicle was purchased ,by the county, for Nancy's use as commissioner. Otherwise she wouldn't be able to do her job. Scott - The two commissioners going against county policy has a lot of people upset. How can they rule on other residence requests in the future.They can't use the "vehicle count policy" anymore. Everyone has to be treated equally.

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spidermite 2 years, 8 months ago

That should read- that Nancy and her husband own the vehicle.

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doug monger 2 years, 8 months ago

The van "in question" was owned and operated by the Stahoviak's, the County Commissioners get no more nor no less privelege or benefits than what are made to the regular workforce of the county. If it is to you Mr. Wonderful Scott Selby that you think the Commissioners should have sought restitution from Mr. Stahoviak and ultimately force them into Bankrupcy, I offer the following, we would not have done such to any of our regular workforce, nor would we have done such to a public servant who has offered 18 years of public service to the benefit of Routt County. The Commissioners will continue to do all of the things that we believe are in the best interest of the majority of our citizens, and you can rest assured that we are going to go to bat for our workforce- all of them. Doug Monger County Commissioner

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spidermite 2 years, 8 months ago

homey, If the van is owned and insured by the Stahoviaks did their insurance paid for all of Nancy's medical bills? Now tell us why the improvements on CR 18 were O.K.'d without following county policy? Why even bother placing traffic counters along county roads????????????????

MS. Wonderful Spidermite

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spidermite 2 years, 8 months ago

homey. What happened to ya? I've got questions. You didn't seek restitution from Mr. Stahoviak when restitution was due? Did the taxpayers have to pay for the accident? How would this be in the best interest of the majority of our citizens? Their are many wonderful citizens that have had to file bankrupcy. If your going to help the Stahoviaks shouldn't you help the others as well?

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scott selby 2 years, 8 months ago

Commissioner Monger: When the county decided to become partially self-insured, you took on the responsibility of functioning like a health insurance company. Any other health insurance company would seek restitution from the person responsible for the accident. You have chosen not to do so and have passed the expense on to the tax payers of Routt County. This decreases the county''s ability to perform the functions for which taxes were collected. It does not make sense that you chose to take on the responsibility of self-insurance if you were not willing to perform as an insurance company. Mr. Stahoviak, not the citizens of Routt County, was responsible for the accident. You, as an elected official are responsible to the citizens of the county. You are also reasonably expected to follow the policy and procedures of the county. When you vote to disregard those policies and procedures, such as in the case of CR 18, you should expect criticism from the public. Being a public servant means you serve the public. It is a choice that was made by every elected official. The service of Commissioner Stahoviak in no way relieves her husband of being responsible for the accident. The County has simply made the decision to pass that responsibility back to the tax payers.

Just an additional question from your earlier post. If being held responsible for his actions (although unintentional) would have bankrupted the Stahoviaks, How can the county afford the expense in the current economic climate? What will the impact of such a large claim do to the insurance rates for the county employees next year and what services will be cut in order to pay for them? Will the increased cost be passed along to other county workers who were in no way responsible for the accident?

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spidermite 2 years, 8 months ago

Nicely stated " Mr. Wonderful Scott Selby". Thank you for defending the tax payers.

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kathy foos 2 years, 8 months ago

We haven't got a bus to get to work from south routt,but our commish does?Figures.Voting for Road 18 -paving proves that we need to have new blood at the top level.I dont care how long anyone has been there or what they have done in the past. Today is a new day and its taxpayers money and time.It is to Mongers credit(homey)he is responding.Nancy is out of the loop.She has us backing her in south routt,but only cares for Steamboat it seems.We will always like Nancy,but we need more done now..Big oil and other chemical pollutors need to be stopped or controlled(they don't care)Protect water,forest,land,people is first priority.NOT money in the county coffer.There are old oil situations waiting to be cleaned up in this county,one polluted out on Trout Creek accidently this week,how many more old bombs are ready to leak because the county did not make them clean up their mess?Pick on a south routt salvage yard and let the oil companys kill and pollute.Good job.Just add a little bit of DDT (or whatever on Burgess Creek area to top it off?What about the animal's and people breathing that poison?I am so mad and appalled that someone ,after all of the cancer and information in the last one hundred years, could play STUPID INGNORANT and poision that area).That was poisioning public land.You poisioned taxpayer property and ruined trees and bushes .If Doug Monger or Nancy Staviok want to be protecting the county,open an agency to report these instances and follow up with Studies,education.Tickets ,fines?Oh you name it ,just protect our corner of colorado.Do you know Nancy and Doug that in Rifle people sued the oil companys for destroying the area with gas fracking?Kinda funny huh?Class action suit you know.The commish didnt protect the area from the oil guys,Kinda sad.Dont know if they will be elected again.I think people want the commish to represent ,them in the community,water in the area ,economy(make employers hire american before they fill the visa worker as they law requires,dont look the other way while the employers rape your voters in other words.)Please ,Please,Please, someone out there that can fill these qualitys ,run in the next elections.That just my opinion.If that is Monger and Stahoviak , fight for it ....so be it.Be part of the solution or get out of the way.Thanks pilot for informing the public of the pollution!

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spidermite 2 years, 8 months ago

yvb, I hate to agree with you but this scam that was pulled on the tax payers is very unsettling. We can't trust Nancy or Doug. Ron Stahoviak owes the county $75,000.00 !

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scott selby 2 years, 8 months ago

YVB: I know we have disagreed in the past (slightly) but this one is not about liberal, conservative, feeding the birds, bikes, mmj, or any other hot-button issue. It's about what is truly right and fair for the residents of the county. Everytime something like this occurs whatever your political affiliation may be, everyone should hold our elected officials accountable.

On a seperate note....I will be having the title "Mr. Wonderful" registered. Any further use of my registered title by Commissioner Monger shall be dealt with through the apprpriate legal means.

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mtroach 2 years, 8 months ago

Don't most private auto insurance companies require coverage for personal injury? I'm still wondering why the Stahoviak's auto insurance isn't paying for this injury? I'm not one to push a family to bankruptcy, just to stand up and make the responsible party pay for the service they were paid to provide. If Ron and Nancy choose to insure their vehicle without personal injury coverage, then they should have to live with that choice, and not allow us taxpayer to cover their bills.

This is a prime example of why our Medical insurance system need overhaul. All you naysayer about "socialized" medicine take a look and learn for this. Here is a "pillar" of our community, teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, because of an crashed auto and overwhelming medical bills that her employer steps up to cover. I'm sure this type of bankruptcy is happening all over the country and lots of people are in the same boat as Ron and Nancy, but probably don't have a sympathetic employer that will step up, or they have a medical insurance company with lots of lawyers to sue so the person responsible (or insurance of that person) has to pay.

If Nancy worked anywhere that had standard medical insurance offered to it's workers the auto insurance co would be footing the bill for the crash related injuries, not the medical coverage provided by the employer. Insurance Lawyers would make sure of that.

Self insurance by the county is a bad idea when personal feelings about those covered plays a part in the decision making process regarding claims and actions.

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spidermite 2 years, 8 months ago

mtroach, That was a excellent comment. I've got one point I would like to add. Nancy's employers are the tax payers not Doug Monger. Doug doesn't have the "right" to cover Ron's debt. It appears that the gratitude, Nancy feels towards Doug, is affecting her ability to cast an educated vote. County Road 18 comes to mind!

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scott selby 2 years, 8 months ago

Mtroach: That's my entire point. The County made an informed decision to choose to partially-self insure. Because that decision has been made, they must now step up and perform the duties of an insurance company. I would also point out that Commissioner Stahoviak is not simply an employee. In fact, Commisssioner Monger must consider her a "special" employee, as he drew the distinction between her and "regular" employees in his post. This would mean he sees himself as a "special" employee. If Commissioner Monger was involved in the actual decision making process as to whether to seek reimbursement from Mr. Stahoviak, then it would be interesting to see what county policy and procedure was followed. If there is none, then they were obviously "making it up as they go".

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mtroach 2 years, 8 months ago

I just wonder how much Routt county has paid out toward Nancy's health over the years? She must be the six million dollar commish. I wish I could afford the coverage our public servants are provided. Her problems alone makes you want to rethink the whole self-insurance enterprise the county currently uses. Are there figures available that show the impact of this decision on the county budget? Or is the privedgled information also?

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John Fielding 2 years, 8 months ago

I discovered recently when my daughter fell asleep at the wheel after working till 2 AM that family members have very limited coverage. The larger coverages are for people who you injure who can sue you. Fortunately she is fine, but it cost $19,000 for one night in the hospital and the tests to confirm she was uninjured, of which my personal injury coverage contributed $5,000. I was told by my agent this is standard coverage when I bought the policy, but I did not realize my family has much less protection than unrelated persons.

It may well be that the county has the standing to require reimbursement from the auto insurance company, a legal consultation is in order.

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spidermite 2 years, 8 months ago

We have a county attorney and a manager. Did these two approve Ron being excused from his obligation. If so, Why? Our government will need to increase our taxes to cover the mismanagement of this insurance!

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scott selby 2 years, 8 months ago

They will not increase taxes. They will use their banked mills to increase the levy on property taxes.So even though your valuation is down, your taxes won't be. Commissioner Monger still has never stated what services will need to be cut in order to make up the difference. It has to come from somewhere, but evidently there must be extra money for paving barely travled county roads, despite the policy and procedures they put in place themselves. I still find it very telling that the usual conservative posters have barely commented on this issue. It seems like most of their energy is spent on national partisan issues, as oppossed to local issues related to responsible government.

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rhys jones 2 years, 8 months ago

Scott, pardon my ignorance of the paving issue, not to mention economics, and I won't bore you with past stories of apparent graft and shady deals. Not all worked -- 700 eg. What I wonder is, if taxes don't go down, what loss is realized? The party goes on at County.

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scott selby 2 years, 8 months ago

Rhys- Sorry if my post was convoluted. Yes, an increase in the Mill Levy rate is an actual tax increase to the property owner. You are paying more taxes on a lesser valuation. The paving issue I mentioned was CR 18 which Commissioner Monger and Stahoviak voted to pave a portion of, despite the fact that the road did not meet their set policy regarding traffic count per day to be paved. They were made aware of this and voted contrary to the policy which they themselves put in place. The issue of restitution by Mr. Stahoviak not being sought speaks for itself. I am in no way heartless. As I have stated, I support our county employees and actually everyone having quality health care. This was not someone afflicted with a rare illness. This was a case of someone being ticketed for an accident, but not being held responsible for the damages caused by the accident. Instead that responsibility was passed along to the residents of Routt County.

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kathy foos 2 years, 8 months ago

So who is going to run for these commissioner jobs?How about it Scott and Yampa Valley Boy?John Fielding?Fred?Is there anyone out there?Just some honest bright people are needed.I'm honest but not that bright or I would..Some one has to run against these people .I know the job would probably suck............look at it as your patriotic duty?Seezuki..you busy?

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1999 2 years, 8 months ago

in regards to the paving of CR 18...just getting the equipment out there cost a few thousand.

i think they call it MOB. Mobilization of equipment.

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spidermite 2 years, 8 months ago

sun, I don't think the job would "sucks". You don't have to be accountable to anyone. You've got alot of taxpayers money to spend as you please. You'll be amazed at all the "new friends" you'll acquire. The best part of the job is you can't beat the benefits!

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housepoor 2 years, 8 months ago

Scott S "Yes, an increase in the Mill Levy rate is an actual tax increase to the property owner. You are paying more taxes on a lesser valuation. " So all those years your valuation went through the roof but you're taxes didn't you were getting a tax cut?

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scott selby 2 years, 8 months ago

housepoor- Frame it however you like, when valuations go up and the Mill Levy does not, yes, you are paying less taxes based upon your homes valuation. If the valuation drops and the Mill Levy goes up, you are paying more taxes on the value of your property. If you could sell your home for a million dollars last year, but five hundred thousand this year, but your taxes remain the same (the actual amount you pay) Your taxes, as a percentage of value have gone up.

Please see the quote from the county assessor:

http://www.steamboattoday.com/news/2011/may/06/routt-county-tax-valuation-declines-21-percent/

I think the county has done a good job in "banking" their mills. It does allow for a more consistant county budget. I just believe the money should be spent wisely. Policy and procedure should be followed etc.

More specifically to this article, how do you feel about the County's actions related to Mr. Stahoviak?

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Scott Wedel 2 years, 8 months ago

YVB, You might want to ask your wife again. Now it is 20 years later. You are 20 years older. She might look at you and now be thinking she could take out a good life insurance policy on you and be willing to take the risk. :)

As for the situation with liability and so on, seems to me that there was no way for the county to make that decision without massive conflicts of interest. They should have found some independent arbiter expert and have that person make the decision.

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scott selby 2 years, 8 months ago

@Scott Wedell- They should have and do have a re-insurer and are also paying an outside firm to manage their self-insurance program. They could have made the decision. We pay a county attorney. Seeking restitution would have been an easy, although unpleasant task. The County simply chose not to do so and pass the expense onto tax payers. Based upon Commissioner Monger's post. It was a decision made by the Commissioners themselves.

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spidermite 2 years, 8 months ago

Scott, I'll bet the decision went to a vote. Nancy and Doug voted for Ron not accepting responsiblity for his actions and Diane was opposed. Majority rules! If Ron and Nancy had to borrow $75,000.00 I'll bet they could. If it would have been anyone else, that caused the accident ,they would have to pay!

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spidermite 2 years, 8 months ago

The residents on my county road, #132, were told about four years ago that due to the economy we needed to start paying for the dust retention our road needs. This road is used by tourist, hunters and commercial traffic. It is the access to a wilderness area. We paid to save our health. Now we know about "banking the mill",Ron Stahoviak and county road #18!

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Scott Wedel 2 years, 8 months ago

Scott Shelby, The reinsurer and outside management firms do largely what they are told.

The question for the independent arbiter expert would be to look at this situation using any Routt County policies and any other similar situations in order to say this is how the County would have normally handled this sort of situation and so that is how it should be handled for the spouse of a CC member.

Because of privacy rules, the public will never know if they have always forgive bad driving by spouses of county employees (or the employee) or if County has attempted to collect in such cases.

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scott selby 2 years, 8 months ago

Mr. Wedel. My name is Selby not Shelby. I apologize for the mis-spelling of your name earlier. I was informed by the county attorney that the county never has and never will pursue compensation in cases like these. I am quite sure no policy or procedure exists for situations such as these. The county rushed into becoming self-insured after a year of high claims and facing the possibility of huge increases in insurance premiums, they chose this route. By making such a decision, they took on certain responsibilities. I emailed Commisioner Stahoviak about some of the pitfalls of being self-insured. She did not respond to my email. She instead forwarded it to the county human resources director. Perhaps if Commisioner Stahoviak had examined all of the aspects of becoming self-insured, this situation would not have occurred. However, it does seem to have worked out in her favor. Also, why is it necessary to pay another outside person to advise the county to simply do the right thing? The privacy law concern is a smoke screen. I am not bashing the HIPAA law itself. I am pointing out the fact that the Commissioner's medical treatment was well documented in the Pilot. Who footed the bill is the only privacy that seems to be being protected. It actually isn't that big of a mystery based upon Commissioner Monger's post. The tax payers did. In their budget last year the Commisisoners pointed out the fact that despite the increases in health care cost, no increase was passed along to employees. It would be nice if they could say no additional cost was passed along to the tax payers as well. In this case they are clearly not able to say that.

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mtroach 2 years, 8 months ago

South Routt..Vote her Out! Unopposed last two elections. It's time for change.

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scott selby 2 years, 8 months ago

YVB- You should run. Those county meetings would fefinitely be much more exciting. I fully agree with your point on the auto insurance. It was never my intent to suggest the county seek any more than the actual cost associated with the medical care caused by the accident. Mr. Stahoviak was ticketed. That clearly places the repsonsibility for the accident on him. If another motorist had caused the accident. It would clearly be on them. The county should make no distinction between the two. It is obviously an unfortunate situation, but Commissioner Monger acting somehow like he has some sort of moral highground on the issue because they decided to let the taxpayers foot the bill instead of the responsible party is laughable. This has nothing to do with the state of health care in the US or any other issue. It simply comes down to who should pay the bill.

I think you should run. The pay is too low for what the Commisioners do, but I hear they have a great benefit package.

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rhys jones 2 years, 8 months ago

The Powers That Be are firmly entrenched in Routt County, their tentacles like a cancer, reaching into the remotest depths. Still, I would vote for yvb, we need the fresh air. How about we just write in "yvb" -- if elected, will you serve? And what district are you in? ;-)

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spidermite 2 years, 8 months ago

yvb, If their are only two canidates, for South Routt commissioner, you and Nancy- I would vote for you.

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the_Lizard 2 years, 8 months ago

Isn't that the truth yvb, no one is irreplaceable. After 18 years, good grief, any "public servant" needs to take a well deserved rest.

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rhys jones 2 years, 8 months ago

plus I'd guess you might be in better health, thence less of a liability. Go for it.

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1999 2 years, 8 months ago

shes been a comish for 18 years??

good god. get rid of her and her good ol boys cronyism.

monger too

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Scott Wedel 2 years, 8 months ago

Note that because of the general lack of population growth in South Routt over the past decade, that the redrawn CC district now has a northern border of Walton Creek Road. So there might be some viable candidates with a decent history of pubic service able to run for CC that would have previously had to run against CC Diane Mitsch Bush.

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Jeff Kibler 2 years, 8 months ago

If Ron is the responsible party, there is a debt that is due. If that debt has been forgiven, there may be taxable consequences under the auspices of "Cancellation of Debt." Will the county file the appropriate 1099 next year? I doubt it.

It would be very interesting to examine the tax returns of all three CCs. These folks take in some serious cake, and I wouldn't doubt there's some double-dipping that engorges their coffers further.

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scott selby 2 years, 8 months ago

@ Jeff- By being ticketed it was determined CHP that Ron was responsible for the accident. Commissioner Monger has decided, based upon his previous post, to not hold him or his fellow Commissioner responsible. Instead, they have decided to let evey tax payer, whether visitor or resident, to pick up the tab. If you combine the tab for the accident pus Commissioner Stahoviak's and Monger's recent vote on the paving issue together, it's $125,000.00. I wonder how that money could have been better spent.

I again wonder why frequent posters, such as Fred Duckels, Rick Akin, and other tea party supporters have not commented on the issue. Doesn't responsible government begin at home? If they have in any way addrssed the issue, I would welcome their comments.

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spidermite 2 years, 8 months ago

Scott, The good news is 2012 is an election year for those two. Wall's past came up to "haunt" him and so will theirs.

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Jeff Kibler 2 years, 8 months ago

Scott, if Ron payed the fine then he is guilty by default.

The Tea Party supporters are now on the lam, after being labeled terrorists by such luminaries as Joe Biden and Mike Doyle. Homeland Security is on a mission to round up these wascally wabbits.

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scott selby 2 years, 8 months ago

The Department of Homeland Security began under President Bush, after he failed to live up to his constitutional obligation.....fact. I would again bring the issue back to Commissioner Stahoviak and ask where are the "patriots"?

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