Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

Paul Weissmann will continue to serve the public as Boulder trustee

In the latest installment of a long-running saga, yesterday Governor John Hickenlooper reappointed five of the ten public trustees who resigned last month -- at his request.

And he appointed three new trustees in three counties, including one who really puts the "public" in public trustee: sometime bartender Paul Weissmann.

Weissmann, who's been named public trustee of Boulder County, has been serving the public for decades -- as a bartender and restaurant manager at the Blue Parrot in Louisville, a gig he kept even while serving as a legislator. And when he was term-limited out of his seat, he became the chief of staff for the House Democrats -- a post he will keep until November.

Then he'll move to another place where he can serve the public. But the appointment only makes sense: A former bar owner is now governor, so why not a bartender as public trustee? And Weissmann brings many other credentials to the gig, including a Best of Denver award.

"Paul has served Boulder County as a state senator and a state representative, and rose to become the House majority leader," said Representative Mark Ferrandino, the current House leader. "No one in the state Capitol can match his vast experience and expertise. I couldn't have asked for a more knowledgeable adviser, and I'll miss him. But I know that in his new role Paul will continue to be an outstanding public servant for the people of Boulder County. "

Hickenlooper has yet to appoint public trustees in two counties, Arapahoe and Mesa. Only ten Colorado counties have trustees appointed by the governor -- in the other 54 counties, the trustees are elected or appointed by county officials.

Here's the official release from Governor Hickenlooper:

DENVER ­-- Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2012 -- Gov. John Hickenlooper announced today public trustee appointments for eight of the 10 counties in which he has statutory authority to fill the positions. In two counties, Mesa and Arapahoe, the search for new public trustees will continue.

Trustees in five counties were reappointed: George Kennedy in Douglas County; Thomas Mowle in El Paso County; Margaret Chapman in Jefferson County; Deborah Morgan in Larimer County; and Susie Velasquez in Weld County.

New trustees were named for three counties: Paul Weissmann, a former legislator and House Minority chief of staff, in Boulder County; Susan Orecchio, chief deputy public trustee in Adams County, in Adams County; and Saul Trujillo, acting chief investigator on the 10th Judicial District, in Pueblo County.

"It is essential that public servants maintain the public's trust," Hickenlooper said. "We expect that moving forward each of these trustees will continue to do just that."

The Governor's Office intends to seek legislative changes in January that deal with issues related to the state's public trustees. The changes will be proposed in concert with counties and members of the General Assembly. No matter what form the legislation may take, it must maintain transparency, accountability and consistency among public trustees statewide.

Each of the newly-appointed public trustees is aware his or her job may change depending on what kind of legislation is ultimately approved next year.

About public trustees:

Public Trustees handle public transactions and foreclosures on real estate properties. They oversee the administration of Deeds of Trust including releasing them when a loan has been satisfied and foreclosing in the event of default. The public trustee is also responsible for the collection of tax accounts for Land Purchase Contracts for Deed within his or her county.

Seven months ago, when Governor Hickenlooper addressed Colorado legislators, he saluted Colorado's entrepreneurial spirit. He had no idea how many challenges that spirit would have to deal with this year -- including wildfires and the Aurora shootings. Read about Hickenlooper's State of the State speech here.

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun