Headlines Feb. 8, 2022
Headlines — February 08, 2022 Rachel
Head Of Jefferson County Public Health Resigns After Closed-Door Board Of Health Meeting
The executive director of the Jefferson County Public Health Department offered her resignation Tuesday during a two-hour, special closed-door Board of Health meeting. The four member board unanimously accepted the resignation of Dr. Barbara Comstock, who began her employment with the county health department in February of last year. About two hours after the meeting, the board released a statement thanking Comstock for her service but did not explain her departure.
According to The Denver Post, Comstock was unpopular with some segments of the community, especially after the county’s health department reinstated a mask mandate during fall’s COVID-19 surge. The paper reports a group that supported conservative school board candidates during last year’s election did actively push for Comstock’s removal.
Douglas County School Students Walk Out In Protest Of Superintendent Firing
At 1:10 PM Monday, hundreds of students walked out of their schools to protest the district’s firing of Superintendent Corey Wise. Students also protested the board’s vote to change the district’s equity policy.
The Denver Post reports that the coordinated student walkout came after hundreds of teachers called in sick, forcing the district to cancel classes last Thursday. The teachers’ rally was also to support Wise before his firing by the Douglas County school board on Friday.
The four person majority of the school board asked Wise to change an equity policy that addressed inequitable practices and created an equity advisory committee. The policy, put in place by the previous school board in March, drew critiques from groups who argued it would indoctrinate students with critical race theory.
Wise worked in the district for almost three decades, including as a teacher, and served as interim superintendent. He was in his first year as superintendent.
State Auditor Refers Four Former Employees Of The Colorado Judicial Branch To Law Enforcement
The Colorado State Auditor is referring four former employees of the state’s judicial branch to law enforcement after investigations suggest possible criminal activity by the court’s former staff. The Colorado Supreme Court announced the auditor’s decision Monday.
Audit investigators said they found at least some evidence of occupational fraud or the misuse of public funds committed by former Chief of Staff Mindy Masias, former Human Resources Director Eric Brown, former State Court Administrator Chris Ryan, and an unnamed individual.
According to The Denver Post, the State Auditor found evidence that Masias and Brown collected speaking and consulting fees while working on state time. They gave an unusually large separation settlement to an unnamed employee who had access to damaging information against them. They also arranged a $2.75 million contract for Masias before she left her job. Ryan, who was a friend of the unnamed employee, approved the settlement handled by Masias and Brown.
The Denver Post reports the State Auditor’s report is among six investigations into judicial branch scandals. Others include investigations into the FBI, the Attorney Regulation Counsel, the Colorado Commission on Judicial Discipline, and two law firms.
Boulder City Council To Hear Committee Recommendations On Library District
An advisory committee will present its findings this evening to the Boulder City Council regarding the formation of a new property-tax funded district for the city’s libraries.
According to The Daily Camera, the 12 member Library District Advisory Committee recommends funding the district with a property tax mill levy up to 3.8 mills and establishing a board of trustees to guide the work. The Daily Camera reports the proposed rate of taxation equates to an additional $26 in property taxes per $100,000 of a home’s assessed value. If the boundaries of the new district extend into parts of unincorporated Boulder County, the proposed property tax revenue will meet the goal of expanding services set in a 2018 master plan.
Besides funding, the committee is also recommending a transfer of ownership of library buildings and land through a new common-interest community and for library staff to make a living wage as set through the terms of an intergovernmental agreement.
Emergency SNAP Benefits To Continue In February
The Colorado Department of Human Services announced last week participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, will continue to receive the maximum amount of funds this month as approved under emergency pandemic spending measures. SNAP funds food purchases to low-income households via state issued EBT cards. The Department of Human Services said in its news release, the state has met the criteria for extra assistance and the federal government has approved the max allotment since the start of the pandemic.
Headlines — February 08, 2022 Rachel