OPINION: DeltaGate

JOANN KALENAK, DCCR BLOGGER — Holding a second job isn’t usually considered a problem, but when it comes to taxpayer funded jobs, governments generally err on the side of caution. Delta County administrator Robbie LeValley doesn’t have a problem, however, with one of her top department heads moonlighting for another government entity despite reports of absenteeism and distraction.
LeValley also doesn’t seem to have a problem with, what looks like, time card fraud.
For almost five months, Elyse Ackerman Casselberry, Delta County’s full-time community and economic development director and head of planning, has also been working an average of 25 hours per week as Collbran’s town administrator and planner.
Casselberry’s county timesheet — signed by both Casselberry and LeValley — and invoices to Collbran show considerable overlap in schedules between the two positions. On several occasions, Casselberry claims to have worked between 23 and 28 hours in a single day.
Between the two jobs, Casselberry is doing well financially, especially for a public servant. At an average of $14,424 per month, Casselberry’s income from the taxpayers is in the top one percentile of all wage distribution shares in Delta and Mesa County. County Commissioner Don Suppes says Casselberry is “worth every penny.”
And then there are the conflict of interest issues that could arise from Casselberry’s duel roles — beyond time-schedule conflicts and billing anomalies — including disclosing non-public information, economic development competition, and public representation conflicts.
All of this adds up to a scandal by any definition. I’m going to call it DeltaGate because the greed and corruption seems to go all the way to the top.
BLOGGER’S NOTE: Administrator Robbie LeValley was contacted by DCCR prior to releasing its original story. (See story.)
Here’s her full response:
“Elyse is working with Collbran as a consulting manager on a very part time basis. The subdivision and development applications, questions, permits, and overall activity have significantly increased for the entire planning department. In addition Elyse has applied and successfully obtained numerous grants and projects to partially address the priorities listed in the Master Plan. These projects and grants occur simultaneously. Elyse and the entire planning department have diligently been laying the groundwork for the land use process including managing the O&G working group and the CAFO working groups both of which demanded significant time and energy.
Additionally, she is directing a number of projects including several for other departments in the County. Elyse is doing all of this simultaneously so if she at times appears distracted then I would say appropriately so. Elyse is a .8 FTE and averages 32 plus hours per week for Delta County. Her timesheet reflects hours worked. The professionalism of the planning department is a direct reflection of the expertise, experience, knowledge, and insight of Elyse.”
Attempts to contact Elyse Ackerman Casselberry at her Collbran office where not answered.