County administrator's evaluation made public to dispel 'cloud'

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By AJ Vicens

Jefferson County officials released the personnel evaluation of County Administrator Jim Moore last week to combat a “cloud” over him and to affirm his authority.

“The reason that I specifically released this as the chair of the board (of county commissioners) is that there has been some suggestion and a cloud over Mr. Moore as to whether or not he is our manager, and whether he has full approval or respect,” said District 3 Commissioner Kathy Hartman. “In the interest of making it very clear to employees, citizens, to other government officials who have to work with Mr. Moore, I wanted to make it very, very clear that he is doing a very good job, has the confidence of the board, and that he speaks for us.”

The “cloud” over Moore — who as county administrator serves basically as the CEO of Jefferson County government — emanates primarily from a blog known as “What’s Up at the Taj,” at www.wuatt.blogspot.com. The blog discusses Moore’s management style and its alleged shortcomings, as well as the way Hartman and District 2 Commissioner Kevin McCasky support Moore, who became county administrator in November 2005. The blog has never criticized District 1 Commissioner Jim Congrove, who has also been very public in criticizing Moore on the county’s lack of a formal ethics policy and the handling of certain personnel decisions.

Hartman said the evaluation was released to make it clear that Moore is secure in his post.

“It’s a management issue when people don’t know whether a senior manager of the organization has the confidence of the organization,” Hartman said.

County spokeswoman Kathryn Heider said the evaluation was released with Moore’s permission.

Heider conceded it is not normal to make personnel evaluations public.

“But Kathy asked us to do that,” Heider said. “Since I’ve been here, something like this hasn’t come up before.”

The evaluation was done by an outside firm at a cost of $1,000 and polled eight of the nine elected Jeffco officials and the department heads that report directly to Moore. He received high marks from most of the respondents, but one elected official gave him the lowest scores possible across the board, and one department head gave him the highest scores possible across the board.

Hartman said the nature of the survey precluded identifying which elected official gave poor scores for every question asked, but she has a guess as to who it was.

“I have my guesses, but I’m not going to speculate for your purposes,” Hartman said.

For the full version of this story, read the Courier's July 2 print edition. Contact AJ Vicens at aj@evergreenco.com.