Colorado

Aug 31, 2010 6:14 PM by Greg Boyce

Embattled Teller County Sheriff to retire

Embattled Teller County Sheriff Kevin Dougherty will step down effective at noon on Friday.

Dougherty has been under attack for buying a home in El Paso County, which some residents took to mean he could no longer legally serve as Sheriff.  He said he rented a home in Florissant, as therefore is still a legal resident of Teller County.  A court date was then set for the middle of September when a judge would consider the definition of the word "inhabitant" under Colorado law.

Under an agreement with the County Commissioners announced Tuesday, Dougherty will step down Friday and be replaced by Michael Ensminger.  The county has agreed to pay some of Dougherty's legal fees over the challenge and he will be paid his salary through October 1.  His term was set to expire in January. 

Ensminger is unopposed in the November election.  He defeated Mark Manriquez in the Republican Primary in August.

 

Dougherty released the following resignation letter Tuesday:

Dear Fellow Residents of Teller County,

I write to first thank you for entrusting me with the Office of Sheriff of Teller County over the past two terms and, second, to formally announce my retirement as Sheriff. I provided official notice of my retirement in a reslgnation.,submitted to the Board.of County Commissioners. The Board of County Commissioners, on behalf of Teller County, filed a lawsuit to gain a judicial determination of whether I ceased being the Sheriff, which further involved examining whether I was an "inhabitant" of Teller County. Unfortunately, just arriving at a definition of "inhabitant" would have required a great sum of taxpayer dollars and diversion of other important resources from both the County and the Sheriffs Office. In fact my attorneys, The Gasper law Group in Colorado Springs, and the attorneys for the Board were in the midst of preparing for a court hearing set in EI Paso County on September 16, 2010.

As it turns out my term as Sheriff would have officially ended as a result of term Iimlts at the end of this year. Although I am confident that I continue to be an  "inhabitant" of Teller County and had excellent legal counsel readv to establish this as a matter of law, I believe it is in the interests of the residents of Teller County to resolve this matter immediately. Protracted litigation combined with anticipated appeals would have taken money, time and other resources to resolve. These same resources are better put to use for the direct benefit of Teller County Residents.

As many of you may already know, my wife and I placed our Teller County house on the market this year and purchased a home in Colorado Springs closer to my mother. Although our Teller County home sold faster than expected, I made arrangements for rental housing in Teller County so that I would continue to have a local presence. At no point didl desire to abandon my well-established connections with Teller ~ounty. In fact, I continue to be a registered voter in Teller County and hold a current vehicle registration in Teller County.

I appreciate the many letters of support and voices of encouragement over the past weeks. I also would like to thank my dedicated staff and support with the Sheriffs Office. I share a special thanks for my attorneys, Matthew Drexler, Bill Edie, and Allen Gasper of The Gasper law Group who were able to assist me in my goal of a smooth transition of the Sheriffs Office. While the Sheriffs Office moves forward, J am also eager to take advantage of other employment opportunities and will be more available to my family and ailing mother who lives in Colorado Springs.

I am deeply grateful for opportunity to have served as your Sheriff.

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