Harrison resigns

County administrator steps down, reasons unclear

Montezuma County Administrator Ashton Harrison resigned unexpectedly Tuesday morning after almost seven years on the job.

He delivered a resignation letter to the Board of County Commissioners at 8 a.m. Tuesday, saying his decision was effective immediately.

Harrison's departure came as an abrupt surprise; he was present at the weekly commission meeting on Monday, and gave no signal of his intent to step down.

Commissioner Steve Chappell questioned whether Harrison was truly gone for good, saying Tuesday afternoon that Harrison had twice before "decided to resign or quit" and then reconsidered.

"He's changed his mind before," Chappell said. "The other two times he slept on it and took it back."

Harrison, however, disputed this account.

"I don't recall ever resigning," he said. "That's a new one."

In a phone interview, Harrison did not reveal any intent to backtrack on his decision, saying he was no longer affiliated with Montezuma County.

When asked the reason for his sudden departure, Harrison declined to comment.

He was first hired in May 2006, and was subsequently reappointed on an annual basis.

In his absence, Harrison said the three commissioners - Steve Chappell, Keenan Ertel and Larry Don Suckla - are "in charge" of administrative duties. County Finance Officer Amber Kingery, who worked closely with Harrison, said she and colleague Lynette Reece were doing their best to keep the administrator's office functioning normally.

The matter will be discussed further at next Monday's commission meeting, Chappell said.