Christina Whitmer, Grand County Treasurer, submitted a letter of resignation to the Grand County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) on Friday, May 22, prior to the holiday weekend. Whitmer, a Republican, is an elected official and has served Grand County in the position of treasurer for 30 years. She ran most recently in 2018, unopposed, and her regular term would have expired in 2022.
Whitmer gave no reason for her early departure but stated graciously, “It has been a great honor to represent the people of Grand County for the last 30 years. My longevity staff has been a big part of my success and will ensure a smooth and efficient handover process. I am so grateful for their hard work and loyalty. I wish everyone at Grand County the best going forward.” She named July 2, 2020 as her last day of employment.
Commissioners brought up the letter in their regular meeting, with Commissioner Rich Cimino asking legal guidance from County Attorney Chris Leahy on how to proceed. Leahy explained that, as Ms. Whitmer would vacate the position prior to 90 days before the next election in November, the BOCC was responsible for appointing a Treasurer for the interim.
Statute further provides that each political party could then put forth a candidate for the fall election and that unaffiliated candidates could appear on the ballot as well. The individual elected in this year’s general election would only serve for the remainder of Whitmer’s original term and the position would be up for election again in 2022. Terms for the County’s elected officials are mandated, with Commissioners from Districts 1 and 2 being elected on Presidential election years and the District 3 commissioner and all other elected officials being voted on in midterm elections.
Cimino indicated an interest in appointing a replacement from the Republican party and to do so as soon as possible. “The will of the voters– in 2018, they did elect from a certain party. I’m leaning towards appointing a person from the same party. That’s my preference.”
Commissioner Kris Manguso pointed out that the office was highly functioning and suggested that the three remaining staff could continue on for the six months until a newly-elected Treasurer would take office. Cimino and Commissioner Merrit Linke agreed about the efficiency and capability of the office. However Linke, with support from Leahy, noted that the department would need to have a public official in place prior to January 2021.
All three commissioners ended by agreeing to discuss the issue with the Treasurer’s Office employees, and then determine whether a current employee would be the best appointee or if it would be necessary to start looking outside of the department.