Jul 10, 2012 6:59 PM by Greg Boyce, Matt Stafford

10 Public Trustees resign

Gov. John Hickenlooper, on Tuesday, accepted the resignations of the 10 public trustees he appoints. The trustees are in Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Douglas, El Paso, Jefferson, Larimer, Mesa, Pueblo and Weld counties, most of the largest in Colorado without Denver County.

"We all have to stand for good government," Hickenlooper said. "That means maintaining the public's trust and wherever possible avoiding even the appearance of any impropriety. We appreciate the service these trustees have given to their communities."

The Governor's office is working with each trustee to establish an appropriate transition so there is no interruption in service to the public.

Last week, and in response to reports about questionable spending among the appointed public trustees from the Denver Post, the Governor's office issued new guidelines for the 10 public trustees appointed by the governor. Those guidelines are:

• Submitting a conflict of interest disclosure each year and disclosing any professional licenses

• Following state rules on the use of any vehicle owned by the public trustee's office -- That includes not using state vehicles for personal use

• Receiving approval of all purchases greater than $5,000

• Following state rules on official functions

• Restricting the gifts purchased for employees

According to the Denver Post, one Trustee offered free chair massages twice a month for employees. One had use of a car.

In Pueblo, Nick Gradisar had moved his Public Trustee office into a rented space in a building that he was a part owner of. Gardisar told News 5 over the phone hours before the news of his and the nine other resignations came out that he had moved the office into that space in August 2007. Since then the state has paid $2,000 a month in rent to a group that Gradisar is a 25 percent owner of. If he's received 25 percent of $2,000 every month since August 2007, at $500 dollars a month that adds up to $26,000 if he received payment for every month including August of 2007 and July of 2012. Gradisar said the decision made sense for his office and he didn't think he had done anything wrong.

Gradisar told News 5 that he was working with Pueblo County's procurement officer to determine if there was any wrongdoing and what steps should be taken to make sure everything is operating properly, but that was before news of his resignation.

Gradisar and El Paso County's outgoing Public Trustee Thomas Mowle (who wasn't listed as having made any questionable decisions with public funds) both agreed to do interviews with News 5 Tuesday; both backed out just before each of their agreed upon times; Mowle said he decided he wanted to hear more from the State before saying anything on camera, and an assistant for Gradisar said he, "had something come up."

Governor Hickenlooper says he'll work with each of the outgoing Trustees so that there's a smooth transition; in the meantime the governor's office will begin accepting applications for replacements through the Office of Boards and Commissions.

To read more on the Denver Post's investigation into the use of funds by Public Trustees, click here.


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