Conejos County Sheriff Galvez resigns

CONEJOS — The Conejos Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) has reached an agreement whereby Howard Galvez Jr. will no longer be sheriff as of March 2.

County Attorney Nicolas Sarmiento said a replacement would be named after consultation with the County Sheriffs of Colorado and approval of a list of qualifications needed for a replacement.

Letters of intent will be accepted and a judge will be available to swear in a replacement, Sarmiento said.

Accompanied by a document of irrevocable resignation and a letter of resignation signed by Galvez, the agreement was made public by the BOCC on Thursday, Februrary 22.

In his letter, Galvez stated, “it has been a rough term and I feel that it is in the best interest of the citizens of Conejos County, as well as the staff of the Conejos Sheriff’s Office, to resign as sheriff of Conejos County. I believe that by doing so, the sheriff’s office might be able to retain deputies to protect the citizens of the county.”

Recitals included in the document entitled a “retirement agreement” set forth reasons for the decision, which was reached in a meeting between Galvez and the BOCC.

It was noted that there had been a severe increase of crime, especially thefts, in and around the county and the sheriff’s office has been unable to retain or hire deputies and staff, resulting in only two to four deputies covering the entire county at any given time.

In addition, the public has voiced their disapproval of the sheriff’s office in handling crimes during numerous public meetings, the agreement stated.

The BOCC explained in the agreement that proceedings to recall or remove the sheriff would cost the county a considerable amount of money in litigation fees, the sheriff would continue to be paid his salary while the proceedings or actions were pending, and the actions would “cause further turmoil in the sheriff’s office.”

“Mr. Galvez wishes to retire early, but denies that there is a proper basis to recall or remove him as sheriff and nevertheless has determined to resign from that position pursuant to the terms and conditions of this retirement agreement and believes that new leadership may attract deputies and staff to the sheriff’s office,” the agreement stated.

In accepting the resignation, the commissioners agreed to pay Galvez $29,500 on the effective date of the retirement agreement.

The BOCC and Galvez agreed that the only consideration for signing the retirement agreement are the terms and conditions stated and no other promise or agreement of any kind has been made by any person or entity whatsoever.

Galvez was advised that he could consult with and be given the opportunity to be represented by legal counsel, but chose not to do so.

Parties to the agreement signed with the stated intention to be legally bound by it.

BOCC Chairman John Sandoval signed along with Galvez, who added the date, 2-22-18.