Jul 12, 2014 12:38 AM by Maddie Garrett
As of Friday night, petitioners believe they probably have enough signatures to get a recall question surrounding Sheriff Terry Maketa on the November ballot. The deadline to turn in the 44,387 signatures needed is 1:00pm Saturday.
This all stems from accusations of sexual favoritism and department mis-management by Sheriff Maketa, who is currently under investigation.
After the petitions are turned in Saturday, the Clerk and Recorder's Office has 15 days from Monday to verify the signatures. That process will cost $20,000. If there enough valid signatures, the recall question will likely appear on the November ballot. If that's the case, it won't cost tax-payers any more money. If for some reason the recall election can't be in conjunction with the general November election, the cost of the recall would be more.
On Friday evening, the last push to gather signatures still had people lining up in front of the courthouse on Tejon in downtown Colorado Springs.
"We have had about 300 signatures today," said retired Sheriff's deputy Francis McCargar. "At the present we're ahead of schedule."
The group of three retired El Paso County Sheriff's Deputies believe that they'll probably have enough signatures to get a recall of the Sheriff to the voters.
"It's a matter of principle, he violated the public trust in my eyes, he hasn't been a good steward of the tax dollars so it's time for him to go," said Wesley Delgado, who signed the petition.
If the recall question does make it on the November ballot, and if voters do recall Sheriff Maketa, it would only put him out of office six to eight weeks before his term is up in January. Some voters say it's not worth the time and public money.
But to petitioner organizers, it's worth the effort to send a message to the Sheriff.
"This is necessary not only for us retired deputu sheriffs from El Paso County, but for the public," replied McCargar.
Delgado said he thinks pursuing the recall is worthwhile as well.
"In case he decides to run for public office again I think it should be on his record," explained Delgado.
If Maketa is voted out of office, he would still receive his pension. He would have to vacate the office as soon as the recall election is verified, which takes anywhere between 8 to 15 days after the election day.
Commissioners explained that no matter what, tax payers will continue to pay for a Sheriff. The position pays about $111,000 a year, which equals about $9,250. If Maketa is recalled, another Sheriff will either be elected in the recall election or an interim sheriff will be appointed by County Commissioners.
For petitioners, whether it goes to a recall or not, it's the message their sending to the Sheriff that matters most.
"Regardless of whether we get the signatures or not," said McCargar. "He knows that the people who signed these petitions, he knows that they mean business as well."