Garfield Co. Sheriff’s Office crossed the line |

Garfield Co. Sheriff’s Office crossed the line

Dear Editor:

I am concerned by the actions of Tanny McGinnis, public information and community-relations deputy for the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office, in sending out an invitation to attend a “meet and greet” for the Republican Garfield County candidates at her home. The email was apparently sent to a list of people who receive official Garfield County sheriff public-service announcements. Thus, McGinnis used her Garfield County Sheriff’s Office email and a list compiled by that office to campaign for specific candidates.

The Fair Campaign Practices Act prohibits all agencies and departments ofany state or political subdivision thereof from using government funds for the purpose of the election of any candidate. The Garfield County public relations officer for the sheriff clearly violated the law.

I know that we all make mistakes. Had Sheriff Lou Vallario acknowledged that this action was improper and announced that it would be handled with appropriate action and wouldn’t be repeated, I would agree that although this is a violation, it was being handled appropriately. But instead, the sheriff defended the actions as being routine in his office.

I am dismayed that public dollars have been used to support specific candidates running for office. This also directly affects me because the actions support my opponent’s campaign for district attorney. Additionally this action affects all candidates for public office as it calls into question how your tax dollars are being spent to protect your rights and the use of your taxes to enforce the law.

This email was sent using official email addresses created by the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office with public dollars by a public employee during working hours. It was sent to a list compiled by the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office with public dollars.

This action, which is clearly against the laws of the state of Colorado, appears to be condoned by the sheriff, the agency charged with enforcing the laws. It benefits specific candidates at the expense of our democratic system. This is clearly wrong and should not be tolerated.

Sherry A. Caloia

Glenwood Springs

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