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Jan 19, 2013 2:12 PM by Eric Ross

Update: Mishandled money in Teller County

A series of financial mistakes has put a huge dent in Teller County's budget.

"We have overspent a considerable amount of money on the clerk's office," Commissioner Dave Paul said.

He and others employed with the county are pointing the finger at JJ Jamison, the county's clerk and recorder.

Problems first publicly surfaced during the county's primary and general election in 2012. Mail-in ballot issues sparked a red flag at the Capitol, forcing the Secretary of State's Office to take over the general election. The state required Teller County to use outside assistance during the election, costing them thousands of dollars.

"We spent $162,000 more than we needed," Paul said. "That's taxpayer money and it should be managed better."

Records show the county also has a history of not paying its bills on time. Among them is a $230,000 invoice owed to the Department of Revenue.

The good news----Paul says that expense and other overdue bills owed to the state and surrounding cities have been paid. However, Paul believes it's not enough to prevent history from repeating itself and is asking for more to be done.

"In the interest of the taxpayers, I really think she (Jamison) should consider stepping down."

It's important to note that Jamison has not been charged with committing any criminal act. The County says no money was ever stolen or missing, but do blame their financial troubles on poor accounting at the hands of Jamison.

Jamison emailed News 5 the following response Tuesday afternoon:

"I don't intend to resign. I want the training I've received to be invested to the citizens of Teller County and I'm working to do that. I believe my resignation would be counterproductive."

When asked about new measures and policies Jamison is implementing to ensure this problem won't happen again, she issued the following statement:

"We are putting Policies and Procedures in place to be sure that accounts payable are received by Finance with confirmation, including walking them over to the appropriate individuals. With regard to the late payment issue, we have evidence that supports that the Warrant Requests were sent to our finance department. Also, I am cross training to be sure that there are adequate personnel on every project. This office will make every effort to stay in touch with the Commissioners and other Elected Officials to insure nothing falls through the cracks and they are informed of critical issues."

Friday night, commissioner Dave Paul called out Jamison's statement that read:

"With regard to the late payment issue, we have evidence that supports that the Warrant Requests were sent to our finance department."

Paul emailed News 5 this response:

Hi Eric,

The above statement appears on the KOAA website as a response to your story which aired Tuesday, regarding overspending on the election and failure to pay bills on time by the Teller County Clerk & Recorders office. The statement came from Clerk & Recorder Judith Jamison. The highlighted sentence falsely implicates our Finance Department in the delinquent payment issue that we discussed in our interview on Tuesday. As I pointed out then, the Clerk has a history of twisting facts and blaming others in order to deflect attention from misdeeds that are clearly her responsibility.

If you read the sentence closely, it indicates that Clerk Jamison has evidence that she sent the Warrant Request and in fact she did. Attached is the time-stamped form which she finally sent December 17 after nearly a half-dozen email attempts by Finance Department employees to convince her that the form needed to be produced and the severely delinquent payment of nearly $200,000 remitted. What she conveniently does not admit is that she sent it in 7 months late.

Her implication by carefully crafted innuendo, of the Finance Department "with regard to the late payment issue" is just another example of her deliberate manipulation of the truth to cover for her failures. By KOAA's including this statement on their website she has made KOAA an unwhitting accomplice in her deception.

Please either request a retraction and honest explanation from the Clerk to rectify the insult that her response has caused to the dedicated and skilled employees of our Finance Department, or leave it on the site with this letter and a copy of the attached Warrant Request to illustrate to the citizens of Teller County, including myself, exactly what kind of character we elected Clerk & Recorder.

Respectfully submitted,

Dave Paul, Teller County Commissioner

 

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