SAGUAHCE — Saguache County Clerk Carla Gomez informed county commissioners earlier this month that she will be retiring in January after serving the county for five years. Commissioners are expected to appoint Trisha Gilbert, although there was not confirmation of this as of press time.
Gilbert has worked in the Saguache County Clerk’s office since 2015. She also had worked in other government office positions for the past 18 years Gomez said.
“Ms. Gilbert is extremely qualified — she has picked up all my duties,” Gomez commented Monday. “She has learned all the functions of the DMV process, how to record documents and how to preserve them,” and Gilbert also is proficient in the election process, Gomez noted.
This past election went well, Gomez confirmed, and she expects Gilbert to be able to handle future elections well.
Gomez said she will spend her retirement “watching my grandchildren grow up” and spending more time with her elderly mother. In her letter to commissioners she wrote:
“I want you all, including the good people of Saguache County, to know that I have certainly enjoyed and appreciated the honor of serving the people as clerk and recorder for the past six years and believe this last journey has been a positive and satisfying end of a working life for me that began in 1968. Thank you and the good people of Saguache County for the honor and privilege of serving as clerk and recorder.”
Gomez was the Republican candidate in the 2010 Saguache County election for clerk and recorder and Republican Steve Carlson ran for county commissioner against then Commissioner Linda Joseph. After both candidates won the election Nov. 2, 2010, it was announced on Nov. 5 there had been a “retabulation” of votes by Saguache County Clerk Melinda Myers and staff after a voting machine malfunction was discovered.
The results reversed the outcome of the Republican wins. Democrats Linda Joseph and Clerk Myers were then declared winners in the race.
The reversal of the election results occurred after Myers and her staff counted the additional mail-in ballots, but Saguache County election judges maintain all mail-in votes were counted. A similar situation occurred in 2008 when absentee ballots were found in Center following the municipal election there that overturned earlier counts for the mayoral and trustee races.
The vote count changes were attributed to 93 mail-in ballots allegedly discovered as uncounted and seven absentee ballots. Some 1,290 mail-in ballots were counted on election night.
The overturned election became the subject of an investigation by the Colorado Secretary of State’s office, sparked lawsuits and eventually was taken to a state grand jury. When Myers was not found criminally negligent by the grand jury, a recall was undertaken to remove her from office, with Gomez running as her replacement.
Carla Gomez won the recall race and has since that time served as the county’s clerk and recorder.