Terry Maketa recall, El Paso County, Colorado (2014)

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An effort to recall Terry Maketa from his position as sheriff of El Paso County, Colorado was officially launched on Friday, June 13, 2014. The petition to recall Maketa was submitted by Randy Stagner, Francis O. McCargar - a former lieutenant at the sheriff's office who oversaw Maketa when he was a deputy - and Jimmy McCargar. Maketa was accused of mismanaging office funds, creating a hostile work environment and having extramarital affairs with coworkers, whom he then promoted. An external investigation into the allegations was launched. At the time the recall campaign was initiated, Maketa had approximately seven months left to serve as sheriff before being termed out in January 2015.[1] Supporters of the recall ultimately did not gather enough valid signatures to trigger a recall election, therefore the effort did not go to a vote.[2]


Maketa allegedly had sexual relationships with three sheriff office employees and then promoted them to higher positions. Comptroller Dorene Cardarelle began working at the office in February 2007. Her pay went from $51,396 annually to $101,995 at the time of the recall effort. Inappropriate emails between the two surfaced. Dispatch trainer Tiffany Huntz's salary increased from $35,976 when she was hired in 2004 to $64,791, despite the fact she was the subject of at least three Internal Affairs investigations, through which Maketa allegedly helped coach her.[3]

Undersheriff Paula Presley was promoted three times between when Maketa became sheriff in 2002 and 2014. During this time, she saw her pay rise from $76,244 to $114,755. Three male commanders, who were subsequently placed on leave by Maketa, filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, alleging that the sheriff "'grants considerable favorable treatment to female subordinates with whom he has sexual relations,' including promotions, pay raises and leave, while treating those who rebuff his advances with disfavor."[3]

On May 29, 2014, the county commission unanimously voted to request Maketa resign amidst the allegations. However, the commission did not have the power to force Maketa to resign, and he stated he had no intention of doing so.[4][5]

Maketa's response

Maketa apologized for improprieties but said he would not resign.[5] When asked by a Fox 31 Denver reporter about his potential resignation, Maketa said, "As I’ve said I am staying here until this investigation is completed. There’s a lot of facts that are going to come out after this independent investigation is completed and I think the community deserves to hear those facts before any more judgments, executions or determinations of guilt are made."[6] Though she admitted he "made a terrible mistake during a rough patch in our marriage 5 years ago," Maketa's wife, Vicki, stood by him and joined supporters of the sheriff outside his office during a rally.[1]

Path to the ballot

See also: Laws governing recall in Colorado

Supporters of the recall were required to collect at least 44,387 valid signatures by July 12, 2014, in order to trigger a recall election.[1] As of June 24, 2014, supporters of the recall reported collecting approximately 17,000 signatures.[7] Ultimately, supporters collected over 48,000 signatures. However, not enough were valid, and a recall election did not move forward.[2]

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