Featured, Open Records, Sherrie Peif, Uncategorized, Weld County

Weld District Court Judge to hear Complete Colorado open records case on Thursday

GREELEY — A Weld County District Court Judge will hear arguments on Thursday over whether the employment file of a Weld County employee should be released to the media.

Judge Marcelo Kopcow of the 19th Judicial District will decide if the 16-year employment file of current Weld County Clerk and Recorder candidate Elisa Kunkel should be released to Complete Colorado and the Greeley Tribune after both outlets asked for and were denied access.

Complete Colorado requested the county seek an outside determination through the courts after it denied its last request.

Kunkel is a former employee in the clerk’s office. She has been vocal in Weld government politics for more than a year when she first asked the Weld County Council to order a performance audit on the Weld Clerk and Recorder’s office and her former employer Carly Koppes.

Complete Colorado originally requested the file in 2016 after Kunkel accused Koppes of several issues in her office associated with Kunkel’s employment.

Kunkel has maintained since she first reported her issues to the Greeley Tribune that she has never had a bad performance review until Koppes, but refuses to turn over her complete employment record to validate the claim.

Late in 2017, Kunkel announced she was going to challenge Koppes for the Republican nomination for the clerk’s office in the 2018 election.

Complete Colorado again requested the file as Kunkel was running for public office and she continued to base her qualifications on her tenure and employment history in the motor vehicle office.

Colorado courts have held that CORA exempts personnel files from disclosure, but defined the personnel records exemption very narrowly. Essentially, they have protected personal demographic information in the records such as social security numbers, bank accounts, and other information needed in order to do business with the employee.

However, they have ruled on several occasions that such things as disciplinary records and compensation information are open.

The Greeley Tribune also requested the file and both publications are parties to the case.

The hearing will be held at 2 p.m., Thursday in Division 5 of the Weld County Courthouse.

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