El Paso County Commissioners announced their vote of no confidence Thursday in the El Paso County Sheriff and that he resign immediately. While their unanimous vote sent a powerful message, it is ultimately up to Sheriff Terry Maketa to decide if he stays in office.
Maketa is accused of creating a hostile work environment, misuse of taxpayer money and sexual favoritism. The allegations were brought forth in two formal complaints filed by commanders and a deputy in the Sheriff's Office.
The commissioners can request the sheriff to resign, but because he is an elected official, they cannot force him out of his position. The commissioners have hired an outside law firm to look into allegations against him.
The Sheriff's Office released a statement Tuesday in response to Commissioner Peggy Littleton's request that the sheriff resign. It said in the statement that Maketa plans to finish out the last seven months of his term.
KRDO NewsChannel 13 contacted the Sheriff's Office and Maketa for an interview in response to the commissioners' vote Thursday and they did not return requests.
If Maketa does decide to step down, commissioners would decide on his replacement. Normally, they would look to the undersheriff. However, Undersheriff Paula Presley is one of three women accused of having an affair with Maketa.
"I don't believe it would be prudent since the undersheriff is also part of the issue," said Commissioner Darryl Glenn.
Littleton suggested Bill Elder be appointed if Maketa resigns. Elder will be the next El Paso County sheriff, he is running unopposed in November's election.
He said by phone Thursday that if he is asked, he will step in. However, he said it is too early to jump to conclusions because the investigation is still underway.
El Paso County spokesperson Dave Rose said commissioners question whether it would be fair to place Elder in the office before he steps in in January because of current turmoil in the office. Elder said problems within the Sheriff's Office will take a long time to sort out and it's a challenge he will still face even if he takes charge January.