Hinsdale County administration was rocked by the abrupt resignation of two commissioner-appointed department heads in recent days.
The first of the resignations was announced last week with last Thursday, April 4, being the final day on the job for newly-named Hinsdale County Emergency Medical Services and Emergency Management Director Troy Mead.
Mead’s resignation was followed on Tuesday morning this week with the surprise resignation of seven-year Hinsdale Road & Bridge employee Monte Hannah.
Hannah was first hired as a mechanic in the county’s road & bridge dept. in 2012 under Road Supervisor Robert Hurd.
Following Hurd’s retirement, Hannah was named Hinsdale County Road & Bridge Superintendent in October, 2016.
No reason was given for Hannah’s abrupt resignation on Tuesday. When contacted by SILVER WORLD on Monday the day prior to his resignation, he noted he was coordinating the Lake City crew with two less men, despite which he was busily scheduling the start of avalanche clearing on Henson Creek.
During Hannah’s 2-1/2-year tenure as Road & Bridge Supervisor, highlights of his local work included overseeing last fall’s installation of underground electric cable to the county’s communications site on Mountain 71. Most recently, Hannah and the county’s road dept. were directly involved in the response to heavy March snow and the resulting avalanche danger which closed County Roads 20 and 30.
Hannah experienced at-times stormy relations with the county board, notably last fall during a routine job performance review attended by a standing-room-nly audience, during which Hannah addressed Commissioners Whinnery, Dozier and Thompson in full military regalia reflecting his military service with the U.S. Navy and Navy Reserves.
Hannah had also worked 16 years as a
Construction Mechanic with the Seabees.
Contacted by the newspaper, Hannah states that on Tuesday morning he was summoned to the county administrative office to a meeting between Hinsdale County Administrator Jami Scroggins and Commissioner Kristie Borchers. Hannah says he was told either to resign or face immediate termination. Given the option of signing a termination agreement which he termed “ugly and derogatory” or the terse, one-sentence resignation letter, he opted for the latter. A statement issued by County Administrator Jami Scroggins on April 9 states, “Monte Hannah resigned as Road & Bridge Boss, effective today, April 9, 2019.”
After signing the resignation letter Tuesday morning, Hannah was allowed time to remove his personal possessions from the county shop building, these including personal automotive tools and exercise equipment which were used by R&B staff in an upstairs portion of the county shop building.
Hinsdale County Commissioners planned a meeting with Hinsdale Road & Bridge staff on Tuesday afternoon, and as of Wednesday it was announced that Commissioner Borchers will serve as interim Road & Bridge Supervisor.
In addition to former Road & Bridge Supervisor Monte Hannah, the Hinsdale County Road & Bridge Dept. consists of a total of ten personnel, these including Shop Foreman Don Menzies and mechanic Jeff Lanktree, Lake City, and Lake City shop heavy equipment operators JoAllen Blowers, Breck Thompson, Johnny Bebout, Gavin McNitt, and Norman Ragle. McNitt has been out on leave the past several weeks but is expected back to work on Monday next week. Heavy Equipment Operator Norman Ragle, a Hinsdale County Road & Bridge employee since 1987, was officially terminated from his position by Supervisor Hannah last week. Dawn Courtmeyer, Hinsdale County Transfer Station Attendant, is also a Hinsdale Road & Bridge employee based out of Lake City.
Two Hinsdale Road & Bridge personnel are based out of the Upper Piedra in the South End of the county: South End Shop Foreman Gene Snow and Heavy Equipment Operator Warren Decker.
Troy Mead was hired as head of Hinsdale County Emergency Services and Emergency Management in January this year. Mead was one of three applicants for the dual post, taking the place of Jerry Gray who retired after over 30 years in the post.
Front runner for the Emergency Manager post was Town of Lake City Manager Caroline Mitchell who was initially hired but later withdrew from consideration.
It was at that point late in December, 2019, that Mead was hired, his first day on the job being January 3, 2019.
Immediately prior to Lake City, Mead “had moved around a good bit,” his two most recent positions being Emergency Management Coordinator with the Veterans’ Administration in Honolulu, Hawaii, and work within the office of Secretary of Emergency Preparedness, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
During a short office interview with SILVER WORLD last Thursday, April 4, Mead related that he has 25 years experience in Emergency Services based on two degrees for Emergency Management.
In regard to his abrupt departure from the county, Mead stated that at 2 p.m. last Wednesday, April 3, after the commissioners’ regular meeting, he met with Commissioners Whinnery, Borchers and Thompson. At that time, according to Mead, he “was asked to resign,” Commissioner Whinnery telling him, “We have chosen to go a different direction with this position.”
The topic of Mead’s resignation was the central topic at a special commissioners’ meeting last Friday, April 5 (see separate article, page 1), at which time his resignation was accepted and the commissioners voted to allow him 1-1/2-months’ severance pay.
In his short dialogue with the WORLD, Mead stated that he had enjoyed his brief time in Lake City and intends to remain in Colorado. “My intent is to apply for a similar Emergency Services position in either a county or city in the state.”