Sheriff Maketa on Allegations of Financial Mismanagement

Right now, these men and women are hard at work in the classroom. After extensive background checks, they're now training to become El Paso County Sheriff deputies, hoping to get to this point, where they're in the field, playing out real-life scenarios.

But Sheriff Terry Maketa says inaccurate reports by others in the media have made them question if their jobs are suddenly in jeopardy, just as they're getting started.

Sheriff Maketa says, "Twenty innocent people sitting in an academy, who earned the right to be here, now because of media misinformation, worried about their future."

The misinformation the sheriff is talking about includes recent reports that claim he may be over-hiring right now, so the next sheriff will be forced to lay off people.

Sheriff Maketa explains, "I personally went down with the undersheriff and I presented them with the facts ... so they could see the other side of the story."

In addition, the sheriff agreed to sit down with me to show me where things stand. He says accusations that he's starting an academy the county can't afford, are ridiculous.

He says with 800 employees, there are a lot of factors to consider, including attrition. He's continually taking into account how many people will quit, be promoted, or retire.

The sheriff continues, saying, "If we were a 30-person organization, 50, we could just hire as those vacancies occur, but with the training time and the size of this organization, your vision has to be much broader."

Sheriff Maketa points out in 2013, his office finished the year about $4 million under budget, thanks to the passage of the public safety tax known as 1A. This year, he says he'll finish at least $1.5 under budget.

County commissioner Dennis Hisey says he's not worried.

Commissioner Hisey sys, "The checks and balances are in place here at the county to make it just impossible for any one person to do something wrong financially and have it not be discovered."

Sheriff Maketa says he wants his office to be remembered for the good that it's done, not recent allegations.

Sheriff Maketa says, "To have that eroded down over misinformation and to characterize me as mismanaging an organization and not fully performing my duties is nothing more than character assassination."

The sheriff says he's anxious for the independent investigation to wrap up. He believes the allegations of discrimination will be put to rest soon.


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