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Bent County Commissioner Claims Hostile Work Environment

(Las Animas, CO) – Bent County Commissioner Chuck Netherton went on official record at Thursday’s county commissioner meeting to say why he would not seek the office for another term and while that has not been a secret, he revealed the reason.

Netherton read a letter and warned that it would be sensitive in nature.

Netherton said he wanted it entered into the record of his statement and letter.

He said he was elected to the position more than three years ago and since that time he’s been subject to what he feels like is a hostile work environment with Commissioner Kim MacDonnell. Netherton says he’s tried to get along without such success. He says he tried to be submissive and felt like he was being bullied and later tried to defend himself and it proved futile. Commissioner Netherton says he tried to get along and do the job he was elected to do but he found it to be nearly impossible in some instances.

“I guess I kinda feel like the attitude has caused the board to work against each other instead of as a team, I’ve been very disappointed.” Netherton replied.

This attitude has caused him to not seek a second term. Netherton elaborates there have been “bad blow ups,” and says he has been cussed at in a public setting by commissioner MacDonnell. Netherton went on to say that he was told by Ft. Lyon employees that they were told not to discuss what goes on at the Fort Lyon with him or Commissioner Jean Sykes. This left Netherton to feel like he was left out of some decisions regarding Ft. Lyon according to his statement at Thursday’s public meeting. He finished by saying these are a few of the violations that justified a hostile workplace, under policies.

Commissioner MacDonnell says she appreciates that and that it is not a secret that there is frustration on the Bent county Commissioner board. Overall, she feels that they might not agree about the genesis of the friction described. She says she owned when she lost her temper and apologized and had tried to do better. She says they need to deal with the past in order to be able to move forward.

Months ago she suggested that assistance be sought in order to learn how to operate as a board. She suggested that CCI can help them with decisions about things like road and bridge issues but they cannot help with how to work together better as a board.

MacDonnell says her insistence they work on this was met with what she feels was resistance.

She believes that it would be in their best interest to have an outside party help them resolve their issues. She says she doesn’t feel like they can get their on their own. She says she will take to heart Netherton’s concerns, and feels like some of the concerns are not hers to own.

Conflict resolution.

MacDonnell says she will reach out to CCI, Colorado Counties Incorporated on how to proceed.


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