A five-page policy on standards of conduct for county commissioners and their advisory boards was approved by Park County commissioners on Oct. 17.
The policy states that for a democratic government to function, it requires board members to: 1. Respect laws and government policies; 2. Be independent, impartial and fair; 3. Use their position “for public good, not for personal gain,” 4. “Deliberations and processes be conducted openly ... in an atmosphere of respect and civility.”
The document contains 17 standards of conduct to “assure public confidence in the integrity of local government and its effective and fair operation.”
County Attorney Erin Smith said the document requires everyone on the advisory boards, all new commissioners and new advisory board members receive a copy and an orientation on the standards of conduct.
“It’s what we expect of ourselves and expect our advisory boards to follow,” Commissioner Dick Elsner said.
Commissioner Ray Douglas asked if the enforcement section stating boards will be self enforcing meant commissioners couldn’t enforce the policy.
Smith said no, it did not negate the commissioners’ authority to enforce, because board members serve at the pleasure of the county commissioners.
The standards include acting in the public interest, declaring conflicts of interest and refraining from voting or trying to influencing others’ votes when a board member has a conflict.
Other standards include professional conduct dedicated to the highest ideals of honor and integrity, listening courteously and attentively to all public discussions, focusing on the business at hand, and basing decisions on the merits.
Other standards address gifts, confidential information and not using public resources for personal gain.
When representing their respective boards, members shall represent the official policies or positions of their board. If promoting their individual position, they shall declare it is their personal opinion, not the board’s.
Another standard states the county commissioners shall not unduly try to influence discussions and decisions of their advisory boards.
Board members shall support a positive and constructive work place for county employees, citizens and business dealings.
Individual board members are not to direct staff, but after a majority vote of the board, one can request the county manager give staff direction. If a board member seeks information directly from staff, the member will share information with all board members.
Each advisory board must develop its own by-laws, including an absentee policy.
New LWTF application
The commissioners approved a new funding application for the Land and Water Trust Fund.
It was revised from the county’s application used for awarding Great Outdoors Colorado’s Conservation Trust Fund money.
The new application requires a 10 percent cash match.
An application criteria scoring chart was also approved. It, too, is revised from the chart used by conservation trust fund members.
The LWTF members score each application using eight criteria with assigned values that total 100 points.
For example, benefit to Park County is worth up to 30 points, matching cash funds earns up to 20 points and in-kind match is worth up to 15 points.
Project type is worth up to 15 points. Five types are listed, but no values are assigned to each type. The five allowed project types are open space, outdoor recreation resources, water resources, water rights and wildlife.
Applications are then ranked by the cumulative scores of all board members. Those with a higher scores have a higher priority for funding.
Elsner said he was concerned about a required 10 percent matching funds having a criteria score of 20.
He said small nonprofits might not have the 10 percent cash but have a great project that will benefit the county.
Since the commissioners have final project approval, he said he wouldn’t push for changing the point system that the new LWTF board developed.
Five new LWTF board members were appointed to the seven-person board earlier this year. The board was instructed to develop a new application and given the conservation trust fund application as an example.
Elsner said the sales tax plus interest is now generating over $1 million for the LWTF each year.
He said with the new uses approved by voters in November, he hoped the fund balance would be spent down.
At the end of 2018, the fund balance was about $3.5 million.
The county approved projects totaling a little more than $2 million in 2019 with a projection of receiving about $1.23 million in sales tax and interest, according to the 2020 budget worksheet.
Elsner said that in 2020, $1.8 million will be spent with about $1.2 million being received from the sales tax.
Sheriff and Fairplay IGA
The commissioners signed an Intergovernmental Agreement with the Town of Fairplay to provide mutual aid between the Park County Sheriff’s Office and the Fairplay Police Department.
The agreement authorizes the FPD to assist the PCSO with law enforcement services and to provide backup, especially in mutual aid areas that are near, but outside, the town limits.
FPD will respond to a call outside the town limits only in an emergency when PCSO deputies aren’t available and after agreement between the two law enforcement agencies.
FPD will also provide some training activities.
FPD is authorized to write traffic tickets in the mutual aide areas.
PSCO will assist the town with law enforcement patrols, investigative services and animal control services in Fairplay.
Elsner said it will be good to have coverage by the FPD when deputies are elsewhere in the county on a call.
Personally identifiable information
The commissioners signed a policy regarding the destruction, disposal and protection of personally identifiable information.
County Attorney Erin Smith said the policy defines what is personally identifiable information, protection requirements and procedures to follow if a breach of the information ever occurs.
It also has written procedures for proper disposal of paper and electronic documents containing personal identifying information once the information is no longer needed.
Vouchers in the amount of $250,297 were approved for payment. The general fund spent $25,080 and the public works fund spent $79,627.
Human services spent $18,903.
The Land and Water Trust Fund sales tax fund spent $13,056.
The fleet fund’s expenses were $12,637.
Three funds, conservation trust, grant and capital expenditures each spent between $200 and $400.