01/05/2022, 1:24 PM
“NOT GOING TO HAPPEN AGAIN” ?
We joined Monday’s (01/03/2022), Work Session Meeting late, but still in time to catch Ranch President Bill Burt’s discussion regarding last weeks Badger Hill fiasco. Rather than address what really happened on December 26, Burt along with the assistance of Manager Judy Lapora presented a creative version of events that appeared to shift the blame from the Ranch Officials onto some upset homeowners.
We published a story on December 28 titled: “SOMEBODY’S GOING TO GET KILLED ON THAT ROAD (Badger)-IF WE’RE NOT CAREFUL” that included some interesting quotes from Burt and Lapora regarding the closure of Badger during inclement weather.
(See Story for specifics)
In our report, Burt talked about one particular weather event last year that apparently caused CRR Road Superintendent Jordan Jones and one of his employees to spend “8” hours on Badger directing traffic and dodging disobedient drivers. Burt stated:
“THAT’S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN AGAIN-WE’RE NOT GOING TO EXPOSE OUR PEOPLE…”
“NOT GOING TO HAPPEN AGAIN-WE’RE NOT GOING TO EXPOSE OUR PEOPLE”
Was that the unofficial policy prior to the 12/26 Events on Badger Road? Burt and the Board clearly telegraphed their intentions and followed through, but they ran into a problem, the Sheriff’s Office got involved.
WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?
On the evening of December 26, a Jefferson County deputy was dispatched to the Badger Hill area regarding serious and dangerous road conditions. While on scene, the deputy made multiple attempts to contact Ranch Officials, to no avail. Subsequently, his patrol vehicle was hit and fortunately there were no reported injuries. The deputy was advising dispatch that Badger Hill needed to be closed and was frustrated with the lack of a timely response from the Ranch.
“…NOT GOING TO EXPOSE OUR PEOPLE”
Sheriff Marc Heckathorn confirmed his deputy made “numerous calls” looking for any Ranch Official to respond and that it took about 2 hours for his deputy to finally get some assistance.
Ranch Officials knew in advance that the National Weather Service (NWS) was warning the public of an impending serious cold winter storm and stressed being prepared. NWS stated, “We cannot stress enough how important it is to be fully prepared for this winter storm.” However, Ranch Officials apparently ignored the warning and all their talk about Badger Hill Safety, was just that, TALK.
Why didn’t the Board or Manager Lapora plan for this serious weather event-they had plenty of warning. Where was Lapora and why wasn’t she available to at least delegate her responsibility to someone willing to be “EXPOSED.”?
Returning to Monday’s Work Session Meeting, Burt’s policy of deflection included reading “LESSONS LEARNED from the 26-29 Dec closure of Badger Hill.” He started off reading one of his prepared statements that included 8 points (Copy Attached) of finger pointing and took no responsibility for the 12/26 safety “mess” on Badger Hill Road.
After reading his 8 points Burt asked for comments and Road Superintendent Jordan Jones immediately responded: “YOU NAILED IT.”
Jordan then provided his after action report to the Board. He said, “The problem was, we had barely even a half inch of snow.” He explained that earlier in the day (12/26), he drove Badger Hill and mentioned it had been sanded and “didn’t start snowing until what about 8:30 PM on Sunday night.”
Jordan added: “By 9:00 PM, dispatch was calling me, dispatch said it was an 8 car pile-up, but it turned out to be a 3 car pile-up involving a Jefferson County Deputy-was rear ended. I don’t know whose fault it was, regardless, 11:00 PM at night we put the road closed signs up.”
Jordan further stated: “As long as it was snowing, we were taking care of other roads. Short of sitting there, babysitting Badger Hill, in these snow storms-there’s really no safe alternative to it. If we babysit it, we’re running up and down it every 10 or 15 minutes and then all of the other roads are disregarded and we just can’t do that.”
After Jordan’s report, Burt responded: “People need to realize that the people who live off Badger Road, probably comprise at most, 20% of the entire population of the Ranch. We can’t devote all our attention to Badger Road…”
Director Richard Ebers asked: “When the road is deemed unsafe, if we do not close it, does the Ranch have any liability for any subsequent pile-up?” Burt answered: “There’s a possibility that we could be, but highly unlikely.”
Lapora also answered Director Ebers question. Lapora stated: “I did Call (Interesting) and talk to our insurance agent and his comment to me were that as long as we were doing everything, that we could do-to make the road safe, that, you know it alleviated some of the liability from us. But if we were to just totally disregard it and let people willy-nilly go down that road it would increase our potential liability.”