If you haven’t been keeping up with our quarrelsome elected officials, you may have missed the bitter little dustup between El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa and Senate Majority Leader John Morse.
Appearing on the Jeff Crank show the other day, Maketa opined that Morse was holding up a bill to raise the salaries of Colorado Sheriffs because they opposed gun control bills favored by the Democratic majority in the legislature.
“I made it clear that I felt it was almost bordering extortion,” Maketa told Crank. “Attempted influence of a public official.”
Maketa based his allegations on an email he had received from Chris Olson of the Sheriff’s Union (not that they call it that!- it’s officially called the County Sheriffs of Colorado), which did no morer than pass on a rumor.
Here’s an excerpt from the email.
“Linda Romer-Todd, (the chairperson of the salary commission), met with the Senate President Morse today, and was essentially informed that he was fundamentally opposed to a salary bill and will not give it late bill status to allow it to be heard on the Senate side. There is speculation that we are being punished for the CSOC position on gun bills???”
Maketa passed along the rumor as fact when telling his story to Crank.
“Basically in that email,” Maketa said, “it said the Senate majority leadership, the Dems, are very upset with your opposition and testimony on the gun bills and they are stating we should reconsider our positions to gain a more favorable light for salary support from the Dems,”
I think that’s the type of antics that we’re seeing out of the leadership up there,” Maketa continued, “and it starts right at the top with the president of the Senate.”
Morse reacted to Maketa’s allegations with fury.
“The allegations are completely, totally, utterly false and fabricated,” Morse said in an interview with KRDO-TV. “And for one of the top law enforcement officials in our community to make such baseless allegations disturbs me deeply.”
“(Maketa) knows there’s no factual basis to it because he hasn’t checked the facts himself,” Morse continued “He’s in law enforcement so he knows, you always check first and then make your allegations. This is just so out of character.”
And what about that salary increase? Maketa claims that the legislature is statutorily required to adjust salaries periodically, and that such adjustments are long overdue.
In support of his position, he wrote that “On average, sheriffs’ salaries are $13,439 below other similar situated positions along the Front Range. Some police chiefs make $10,000 to $35,000 more annually than sheriffs; and, captains in some Front Range sheriff’s offices make $6,000 to $8,000 annually more than their sheriff, according to Commission findings…”
Morse said that he’s perfectly happy bringing a salary bill to the floor, but he wants seven Republican sponsors for any such bill. Maketa says that’s totally unfair, probably realizing that his tightfisted fellow Republicans are unlikely to jump on such a dubious bandwagon.
Morse put it bluntly. If any such bill is to be introduced, he wants plenty of Republican cover.
I’m not in favor of that bill, but I’m happy to help (Republicans) get it introduced and see if they can get it accomplished,” Morse told KRDO-TV. “I think with everything families are suffering right now, people like Sheriff Maketa making $111,000 are doing just fine.”
Nice hit, John – but before any increase passes, the term-limited Maketa will be out of office.
So there it stands. In the days of Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton, such slanderous exchanges led to duels, perhaps making politicians a little more reluctant to accuse each other of felonious behavior. Still, it seems to me that our two prominent Springs politicos need to settle this little spat in appropriately manly fashion.
So here’s our suggestion.
Gentlemen, come with your seconds to Acacia Park at noon on a date to be decided. Law enforcement will clear the park. Sen Morse will enter the park at its southwest corner, Sheriff Maketa at the northeast corner. Sen. Morse will be armed with a paintball gun loaded with blue dye, while Sheriff Maketa will have an identical weapon loaded with red dye. He who scores the first hit shall be declared the winner.
Don’t want to risk getting splattered with the enemy’s colors?
Then just shut up, both of you…cowardly weasels!!