During constituent time at the Dec. 17 meeting of Delta County Board of County Commissioners, Delta County Citizen Report president JoAnn Kalenak accused Elyse Casselberry of "moonlighting" and "probable time theft fraud."
Kalenak further questioned the judgment of county administrator Robbie LeValley in her supervisory responsibilities of Casselberry, saying, "...LeValley doesn't have a problem, however, with one of her top department heads moonlighting for another government entity despite concerns from local residents about overlapping time schedules and conflicts of interests."
Kalenak said, "Commissioners, this is a big deal, in fact, it's scandalous.
"I did not create this scandal -- that falls squarely on the shoulders of Administrator LeValley - and now, onto yours," Kalenak said.
Commission chair Doug Atchley thanked Kalenak for her comments.
Kalenak said she thought she and the commissioners would try to have some back-and- forth.
Atchley replied, "We are not going to get into back and forth."
Commissioner Suppes said to Kalenak, "The buck stops here, with the commissioners. The county commissioners are responsible for the performance of the staff.
"I am getting tired of your unhealthy obsession with Robbie LeValley, and now with Elyse Casselberry. We are aware of the two incomes, and Elyse accomplishes all her tasks in a timely, efficient, effective and complete manner.
"I am very happy with the performance of both Elyse and Robbie. With the experience and abilities both Robbie and Elyse have, they could easily work anywhere they want. Delta County is lucky to have them," Suppes said.
Casselberry was hired as the county's community and economic development director in May 2017.
Casselberry said when she first started with Delta County she discussed her intention to take on consulting work with LeValley.
"To ensure compliance with the outside employment policy we agreed that I would not do any consulting work in Delta County for local governments, which would create a potential conflict of interest," Casselberry said.
Casselberry is a .8 full-time-equivalent county employee, with a work week of 32 hours.
Casselberry contracted with Collbran in August 2018. She is working as a consulting manager on a very part-time basis, .2 FTE.
"I did discuss the Collbran contract with my supervisor in August, as required by the policy. I am not working in Collbran without my supervisor's knowledge and Collbran knows that I work for Delta County," Casselberry said.
"Since beginning with the county, my schedule has fluctuated as needed to accommodate the numerous early morning and late evening meetings that I am expected to attend as part of my responsibilities for both planning and economic development at Delta County.
"I have demonstrated my commitment to Delta County, my ability to complete the work that is expected of me, and a willingness to put in however many hours are necessary to complete that work," Casselberry said.
Kalenak stated that Casselberry's Delta County timesheet and her invoices to the Town of Collbran show considerable overlap in schedules between the two positions. Specifically, Kalanak said that on Oct. 2 Casselberry's hours added up to 30.5 hours "where Casselberry claimed to be working for either Delta County or Collbran."
Casselberry says, "I stand by the total hours that I have entered on my Delta County timesheet. I have focused on making sure that each week I have worked at least 32 hours, and that my time sheet reflects that."
Casselberry clarified time sheet entries for Oct. 2 to which Kalenak referred.
In an email to the county commissioners and to LeValley, dated Dec. 18, Casselberry wrote, "I decided to use a time log in August because I wanted to be certain that I could demonstrate that I am meeting my commitments to everyone.
"I have not committed time sheet fraud. I have simply tried to make one tracking system mesh with another tracking system. I will continue to analyze my time log. If I find any errors, I will make any necessary corrections."
Commissioner Mark Roeber states, "I will go on record as proclaiming I stand behind the county administrator and her staff. The competence and performance of Ms. LeValley has never come into question. We can only wish we could clone her to get even more accomplished.
"On the matter of Elyse Casselberry, the same could be said. We were aware of her .8 FTE from the get-go and still marveled at all the responsibilities that she took on and accomplished for the county. Her professionalism and work ethic rival only Robbie's. There has never been any conflict of time or interest with her .2 FTE with the Town of Collbran. If there was, the commissioners would have raised the issue.
"I strongly believe if you were to ask the communities and people that these two ladies have worked with, you would get a resounding vote of confidence. Their integrity should not be in question," Roeber said.
Commissioner Doug Atchley said, "I am very much aware that Elyse is working .8 FTE for the county. Both Robbie and Elyse have perfomed each position respectively in an outstanding and efficient manner, and I would rate their job performance as being very much above expectations. Their performance compared to the position description for each job is superlative."
A collaborative effort between the Delta County Sheriff's Office and municipal law enforcement agencies throughout Delta County has resulted in a proposal for a 1 percent sales tax increase to fund public safety. A PowerPoint presentation titled "Back the Badge" is starting to make the rounds at city/town council meetings, service club luncheons and other events.