Commissioner declines to fire Grand County manager | SkyHiNews.com
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Commissioner declines to fire Grand County manager

Hank Shell
hshell@skyhidailynews.com
Lurline Underbrink Curran
Sky-Hi News file photo | Sky-Hi News

Grand County Board of Commissioners Chairman Merrit Linke has rejected a call by a local citizens group to terminate County Manager Lurline Underbrink Curran.

The group, Citizens for Transparency in Grand County Government, called for a motion to terminate Curran at a special hearing on Tuesday afternoon, May 12.

More than 60 people filled the commissioners’ meeting room for the hearing.

Group spokesmen John Dickinson and Chas McConnell presented a packet of information to commissioners and citizens to back up their assertions of mismanagement in the county.

“I do not think it’s appropriate for anyone to call for my resignation. You certainly have the right to do that, but you are basing it on false information.”Lurline Underbrink CurranGrand County manager

Much of the discussion centered on the county’s handling of the building department scandal, which saw more than $500,000 go missing.

Dickinson repeatedly cited a grand jury report into the scandal that was heavily critical of the county manager.

Dickinson also criticized Curran’s handling of the water negotiations, specifically with the Gross Reservoir Expansion Project.

Referring to the projects environmental impacts statement, Dickinson said the deal downplays environmental impacts and does not hold Northern Water Conservancy District accountable.

“We are asking Mr. Chairperson Merrit Linke to make a motion to terminate the county manager’s employment effective immediately,” Dickinson said.

Linke refused, saying “that’s not how government works.

“I’m not going to base a decision on any vocal citizen’s group, however loud they are, however vocal they are,” Linke said.

Curran responded to the grand jury report, stating that she was told not to comment on the proceedings “under penalty of law.”

“You have no idea what I was asked, and what I was asked to testify to,” Curran said.

She also criticized assertions that she had cut a bad deal on the Moffat Project, stating that the deals would benefit Grand County down the line.

“I do not think it’s appropriate for anyone to call for my resignation,” Curran said. “You certainly have the right to do that, but you are basing it on false information.”

A number of other topics were covered during the discussion, including county management hiring policies.

During one particularly tense moment, Commissioner Kris Manguso said that she had been told by the county’s human resources department who to hire among three candidates for a planner position.

When asked whether the candidate was the most qualified, Manguso said she couldn’t recall, though County Attorney Anthony “Jack” DiCola said discussing the matter “wasn’t appropriate.”

Curran was seen shaking her head in apparent disagreement as Manguso recounted the event.

Visit http://www.skyhidailynews.com on Wednesday for a more in-depth version of this story.


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