Gregory H. Hermann: Treasurer deserves apology
With regard to your editorial published on Sunday, there are several facts that run counter to your expressed opinion that our County Treasurer Brita Horn owes the Routt County taxpayers an accounting of whether or not Peabody has paid the full amount of their delinquent property taxes, together with all of the interest and fees, which had accrued due to late payment of said taxes.
Brita has asserted that she reached a confidential settlement of the amount to be paid to the county by Peabody. As part of that negotiation with Peabody, Brita gave her word that she would not disclose the terms of the agreement.
After your praise of Brita for following the letter of the state statute governing delinquent tax payments, you turned around and suggested that she should violate her promise. A breach of a confidential settlement often creates a cause of action — and might produce a financial liability for the county.
You apparently obtained the amounts Peabody deposited to the county’s bank. This information should have come from a county official. You did not cite the source. Your source may have violated the confidentiality agreement and exposed the county to financial liability.
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The statute is quite clear about how the amount due on delinquent taxes is to be calculated. The exact amount of taxes Peabody owed is public record. It is simple to calculate what was due on the date when Peabody’s deposits were received — and to compare this amount to the deposits .
Routt County has one commissioner who initially ran for office based on knowing accounting. The county also employs several staff who should be able to calculate the amount which was owed.
If county staff is incapable of performing said calculations, the County Commission ought take appropriate employment actions. If the County Commission did not ask staff to perform this calculation for them, or hired no staff who could do the calculations, all three commissioners should resign.
My opinion is that we have three county commissioners who regard Brita as a potentially formidable future opponent in either a general or primary election for a higher elected office. I shall let your readers form their own conclusions about county commissioner motivations in this matter.
This situation is a prime example of precisely what is so horribly wrong with politics at all levels in our nation today. Officials who let ambition and party agendas stand in the way of doing right by the citizens they represent are the heart of the problems we face.
Brita Horn is one of those rare officials we have today who stands by her word, follows the letter of the law and does what is right by the citizens, regardless of pressures from media or colleagues. We need more officials who approach their jobs with the strength of character, good judgment and sense of duty which Brita applies to hers. Please remember this fact if and when we might be fortunate enough to see Brita’s name on any future ballot(s).
I believe that you owe Brita, at the very least, a humble apology for the tone of your subject editorial.
“I love to see honest and honorable men at the helm, men who will not bend their politics to their purses nor pursue measures by which they may profit and then profit by their measures.” — Thomas Jefferson, 1796.
Gregory H. Hermann
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