EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. -

The absence of El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa from a commissioner's meeting with agenda items relating to his budget drew criticism from Commissioner Peggy Littleton.

"It was unusual, I would say," Littleton said.  "In the time that I've been a commissioner, since 2011, the Sheriff's Office has always had staff here to address any questions that we might have."

However, Littleton admitted the presence of the Sheriff's Office "is customary but not required" at commissioner meetings.

"It's just nice to have someone here to answer questions about why we'd be expending funds and how they're allocated specifically," she said.  "I was surprised that someone wasn't here."

The agenda listed the names of Maketa and his office's comptroller, Dorene Cardarelle -- who are accused of having an improper relationship that contributed to an investigation of the Sheriff's Office.

Littleton also was the first to publicly ask Maketa to resign after the scandal broke.

County officials emphasized that neither Maketa nor his staff are required to attend meetings, especially when agenda items are routine matters that appear on a consent calendar.

Maketa himself issued a release on the matter Thursday, explaining that people may be confused by how the agenda process works.