DENVER (CBS4) – Douglas County Deputy Clerk and Recorder Mike Acree has been fired one week after a CBS4 investigation revealed he tried to intervene on a speeding ticket received by a subordinate.
“He is no longer with us effective today,” said Douglas County Clerk and Recorder Jack Arrowsmith. “We agreed to disagree and had a parting of the ways. It was a disagreement in policy and philosophy.”
Arrowsmith said he fired Acree Monday after the two men met.
On Oct. 22, CBS4 reported that Acree contacted the Elbert County sheriff in July about a speeding ticket received by one of Acree’s subordinates. Acree insisted he was not trying to get the ticket fixed.
“That was not the intent. I don’t fix tickets,” said Acree.
According to court records, an Elbert County sheriff’s deputy cited Acree’s employee May 29 for speeding and driving too fast for conditions. Acree said he called Elbert County Sheriff Shayne Heap about the ticket but never got a return call. So he emailed Heap July 23 via Douglas County government email, writing of the employee and her ticket, “I have had a very stern discussion with her about safety and her commute. Could you look into the options available for a disposition of this citation, I would sincerely appreciate it, Mike.”
Heap told CBS4 he believed Acree was asking him to kill the ticket, which Heap said he could not and would not do. Acree insisted he was just trying to see if Elbert County had any alternative programs that would allow the employee to attend a class and get the points for the ticket reduced.
“I’m sorry he interpreted it that way,” said Acree. “That wasn’t the intent. The intent was to assist the individual in getting a reduction in points.”
Acree is a former Douglas County sheriff.
Ethics expert Luis Toro reviewed the email and said Acree’s actions were unethical.
During an interview with CBS4, Acree said if he had it to do over again he would probably not contact the sheriff about the ticket. Court records show that a week after Acree emailed his request to Sheriff Heap and did not get a response, the employee appeared in court, pleaded guilty and paid $302 in fines.
Arrowsmith said he spoke to Acree about what the CBS4 investigation turned up.
“Do we like stories like that? No,” said Arrowsmith.
Arrowsmith declined to discuss specifics of why he terminated Acree, saying just that it was a “personnel issue.” He said generally, “It was a disagreement in philosophy about how this office should be run.”
The firing of the second highest ranking official in the Douglas County Clerk and Recorder’s Office comes one week before a hotly contested school board election in Douglas County, an election managed by the Clerk and Recorder’s Office.
Arrowsmith said the dismissal of Acree would have no impact on the Nov. 5 election.
“The election is in good shape. We’re going to do just fine. We have a fabulous election staff,” said Arrowsmith.
CBS4 attempted to reach Acree by phone. A message left at his home was not immediately returned.
– Written by Brian Maass for CBSDenver.com