Denver Submit file picture
El Paso County Public Trustee Thomas Mowle, left, would get replaced by the county treasurer if a invoice searching for to finish a century-old apply is handed. Logan County Treasurer Patty Bartlett, proper, already is the general public trustee for her county.
A invoice to strip almost a dozen century-old patronage appointments from the governor’s workplace handed a key state Senate committee Monday, the results of key help from Colorado’s prime politicos.
The invoice — HB19-1295 — goals to transform the 10 county public trustees appointed by the governor to positions held by county-elected treasurers by July 2020.
It handed the Home Transportation and Native Authorities Committee by an Eight-Three margin and is headed to the complete Home.
Public trustees run the state’s foreclosures system, dealing with deeds of belief and the auctions that promote the homes impacted by them. Not one of the affected 10 trustees appeared earlier than the committee, nor did the Colorado Public Trustee Affiliation.
The appointed trustees function autonomously, answering solely to the governor, though their budgets are reviewed by commissioners within the counties they serve. In 52 of the state’s different counties, the trustee job is finished by its elected treasurer. Denver’s is held by its elected clerk and recorder, and Broomfield County commissioners appoint theirs.
The 10 trustee jobs have been political appointments for the reason that flip of the final century. Every serves a four-year time period and could be reappointed indefinitely.
Efforts to ditch the appointments have been tried unsuccessfully thrice over the previous seven years, largely the results of a 2012 Denver Submit investigation into the trustee workplaces that led to the compelled resignation of all 10 appointees. Not like earlier efforts, the present invoice carries the help of Gov. Jared Polis and Home Speaker KC Becker, and comes a few 12 months after monetary crises within the Boulder Public Trustee’s workplace almost gutted that workplace.
“We respect that historically governors have been hesitant to surrender this operate of their workplace, however Gov. Polis is dedicated to efficient governance and native management,” Polis’ workplace mentioned in a press release to The Denver Submit final week. “He helps this coverage as a result of he believes county governments are well-positioned to execute these duties for his or her communities.”
And with the variety of foreclosures in Colorado at their lowest degree in not less than 15 years, legislators are questioning why the appointees — every of whom is paid $72,500 a 12 months – are even wanted anymore. The affected trustees are in Weld, Mesa, El Paso, Douglas, Arapahoe, Jefferson, Boulder, Pueblo, Adams and Larimer counties.
“Why did it take so lengthy? I feel it’s laborious for a governor to present them up,” Becker advised The Submit in an interview. “There’s no actual oversight for the trustees in these 10 workplaces, and there must be extra accountability to the voters and residents.”
If handed, the county treasurers who tackle the general public trustee job would obtain a $12,500 yearly stipend, which the opposite 52 elected treasurers already obtain for doing the trustee operate.
“That is simply an antiquated legislation of political patronage, nothing extra,” mentioned Sen. Ray Scott, R-Grand Junction, one of many invoice’s co-sponsors advised The Submit in a phone interview. “It’s all concerning the governor’s buddies. And now, with the foreclosures numbers so low, you don’t want this figurehead.”
The variety of new foreclosures filings dropped to five,154 final 12 months, the bottom since not less than 2003, when greater than 12,000 have been filed. Colorado had led the nation within the variety of foreclosures through the peak of the financial collapse.
Together with Scott and Becker, a Boulder Democrat, the opposite co-sponsors embody Rep. Janice Wealthy, a Grand Junction Republican, and Sen. Tammy Story, a Conifer Democrat.