May 13, 2014 7:37 PM by Greg Dingrando
COLORADO SPRINGS - El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa is stirring the pot yet again, this time for putting three of his eight commanders on administrative leave.
The controversy at the sheriff's department started over the weekend when Maketa responded to a newspaper article that quoted two of his unnamed commanders as saying they were pressured to nominate him for a prestigious award.
Maketa not only called the commanders cowards and a cancer to the department, he said he was going to remove them from his command staff. Monday he did just that along with a third.
The Gazette is reporting the reason wasn't because they spoke out to the paper, it was because the three commanders filed equal employment opportunity complaints against the sheriff but in a statement, the sheriff's spokesman said that's not true.
"None of them have been placed on administrative leave due to an EEOC complaint that was received, but rather their leave is as a result of a pending investigation into several policy violations," said Lt Jeff Kramer in a statement.
But County Commissioners tell a different story. They're looking into the issue as if it is because of those complaints.
"That's why we're going into executive session today, to get legal advice from our council and I recommend outside council at this point in time because its too close to home. We've got to have a professional in EEOC law to give advice on what the parameters are," said Commissioner Peggy Littleton.
Littleton said she's not a lawyer, but she's pretty sure punishing someone for filing a complaint is illegal which is why the commission is already preparing for a legal battle.
"We certainly want to make sure we're protecting the county from any future legal ramifications when it comes to cost or anything that would tarnish the county," said Littleton.
When the news got out, El Paso County residents couldn't believe it.
"Maybe he's trying to hide something. Seems suspicious they make complaints against him and they're gone," said James Erickson.
"It doesn't seem right right off the cuff," said Merle Dow.
And some are concerned what the loss of three of the department's leaders means for the safety of our community.
"That's a lot of brass to let go at once. They keep our community safe," said Erickson.
We are yet to hear from Maketa himself and that's because he's out of town. Sources tell NEWS 5 he gave the order to put them on administrative leave while he's on vacation.
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