By Katherine Nettles
Three attorneys on payroll
Gunnison County has hired a second deputy county attorney (DCA). According to county attorney Matthew Hoyt, in 2021 commissioners approved the legal office converting a vacant paralegal position into a third attorney position. Emilee Gaebler, who was hired in 2021 as deputy county attorney, was separated from employment with the county because, according to Hoyt, she did not obtain her Colorado license to practice law as required within the time frame set forth in her contract. Alex San Filippo-Rosser was promoted to DCA earlier this year, and new assistant county attorney Sammy Obaid started November 3.
Declining FMLI program
County officials determined the county will provide its own benefits to employees who take a leave of absence for family or health related issues rather than joining the state program. Gunnison County commissioners heard a presentation from Perry Solheim, county finance director, in October on the FAMLI Act service through the state of Colorado. Solheim explained that opting out and self-funding a short-term disability insurance program would save about $50,000 and that the county could opt back into the program in any future year. He said the program was better suited to smaller organizations without the economy of scale to fund their own program.
The county is evaluating the 2023 budget for a self-funded short-term disability program for full-time benefit eligible employees that would pay 60% of weekly wages up to $1,500/week, which Solheim said is an increased benefit from FAMLI. Commissioners approved.
Sales tax up, marijuana sales down
Sales tax revenues have increased over 2021, and Solheim called attention to an increase in online sales which look like a particularly high increase due to more precision in allocations. The only industry with declining revenues is marijuana sales, which Solheim acknowledged are significantly declining. “There are many theories to that,” he said, including other states legalizing marijuana, corporations taking over production and fewer local businesses that can compete with them.