The Carbon County Commission chamber was packed as questions were raised regarding Carbon County Sheriff James Cordova’s place of residency. Supporters and concerned residents all attended the commission meeting Wednesday evening to hear details surrounding the sheriff’s alleged absence from his office.
Carbon County Attorney Christian Bryner presented information to commissioners explaining that certain details exist that may require further investigation. According to Bryner, Cordova purchased a home in St. George in 2013. Since that time, the sheriff has made several trips to move belongings to the home and has been in the office very seldom.
Bryner explained that Cordova has only been in the office a total of 26 times since January. “He has delegated duties to others,” the county attorney explained. “It appears that his retirement is starting before his retirement officially starts.”
Although Cordova has a home in St. George, according to his attorney Richard Golden, the residence is not the sheriff’s primary home and concerns regarding his residency and obligations to Carbon County should not be in question.
“The evidence provided by council (Bryner) are groundless allegations,” Golden stated. “My client has served as sheriff for 15 years and as a law enforcement officer for over 30 and is a life-long resident of Carbon County.”
Golden went on to explain that Cordova still has a permanent residency in Price. The home is listed for sale, but if it sells, the sheriff has a place to stay in town until his term ends in December.
Bryner responded by explaining that the purpose of Wednesday’s public meeting was not to compare information, but rather to present facts to the public and commissioners. “The commission has no power to put the sheriff on administrative leave for any reason,” the county attorney explained. “He is an elected official. The commission may, however, refer the case to the county attorney, drop the matter or continue the investigation.”
Because of a large amount of public concern over the matter, commissioner John Jones feels that the investigation should continue. “Both sides have good points,” he stated. “The public is concerned and we need to look into it.”
Jones made a motion to have the county attorney’s office continue the investigation. The motion carried unanimously.
Kelly Ann Booth, also an attorney representing Cordova, voiced her desire to resolve the issue immediately. “I want to put the matter to bed,” she advised. “An investigation is an improper use of public funds.”
She indicated that Cordova only has approximately six months remaining of his term and that these concerns are a “non-issue.”
Commissioners took note of this, but would still like the matter looked into further.