Larimer County’s Irene Josey: a treasurer — and a treasure

Larimer County Treasurer Irene Josey sits in the the newly remodeled lobby in her office in Fort Collins. The wall of historic Larimer County photos were reproduced and framed by John Clarke Photography. Clarke was a Larimer County commissioner from 1995 to 1999. (Treasurer’s photo)

Here’s to Larimer County Treasurer Irene Josey for bringing back a bit of history to her office: a 2,500-pound safe that left the courthouse in a front-end loader in the 1970s and now graces her lobby.

The Fort Collins Coloradoan recently ran an intriguing story about Josey’s role in getting the safe back.

“The safe was built by the Mosler Safe Co. of Hamilton, Ohio, in the 1890s. In its day, it probably held money, bonds and other important documents,” the newspaper reported. “The original floral-print carpeting still covers its floor. Pasted to the inside of the safe are ‘service tickets’ from when its time lock received maintenance. The earliest dates to 1899.”

Local Realtor Sean Dougherty told Josey in March 2016 he saw the safe in a house for sale. It was built into a wall with “Larimer County Treasurer’s Office” painted above the safe door. Josey did some research and learned the safe was used in the original Larimer County Courthouse, which opened in 1887. It stayed in use until a new safe was purchased in 1964.

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Colorado’s county treasurers and their taxing problem with the press

County treasurers Brita Horn of Routt County, Irene Josey of Larimer County and Paul Weissmann of Boulder County at the treasurers' association meeting today in Fort Collins. (SOS photo)
County treasurers Brita Horn of Routt County, Irene Josey of Larimer County and Paul Weissmann of Boulder County at the treasurers’ association meeting today in Fort Collins. (SOS photo)

As somebody who spent 35 years as a journalist, it’s painful to hear a litany of elected state treasurers describe their problems with the press over the years. Misquotes. Bias. And even having their letters to the editors changed.

Still, it was a privilege to address the Colorado County Treasurers’ Association and the Public Trustee Association of Colorado today at their conference in Fort Collins. And a relief to know that sometimes county commissioners also can be difficult to deal with. (That’s a joke. My boss used to be a commissioner.)

Appearing on the media panel with me were Nick Coltrain, a reporter with the Fort Collins Coloradoan, and Keagan Harsha, a reporter and anchor for Fox31.  The topic: “What you can’t — or think you can’t — control.”

Some of our advice: Turn to social media when needed, assume you’re being tape recorded and don’t duck the press even if you can’t give much of a statement. And try to repair relationships with reporters. It will benefit you in the long run.

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Innovation in bellwether Larimer County

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams visited with the Larimer County clerk and board of commissioners during a visit to Fort Collins last week. They are, left to right, Commissioners Tom Donnelly and Lew Gaiter, Williams, Clerk and Recorder Angela Myers and Commissioner Steve Johnson. (SOS photo)
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams visited with the Larimer County clerk and board of commissioners during a visit to Fort Collins last week. They are, left to right, Commissioners Tom Donnelly and Lew Gaiter, Secretary Williams, Clerk and Recorder Angela Myers and Commissioner Steve Johnson. (SOS photo)

When Wayne Williams was elected El Paso County clerk and recorder in 2010, he visited the clerks in Larimer and Weld counties before he took office.

At the time, Williams was a county commissioner and had heard from the Larimer and Weld commissioners and their residents “about the quality of their clerks and the operations they ran,” he said.

Williams, now the secretary of state, returned to the Larimer County clerk’s office in Fort Collins last week as part of his goal to meet with clerks statewide to see what issues they face and how his office can help.

“We spoke about the quality of support from the secretary of state and his office,” Larimer County Clerk Angela Myers said. “It definitely feels like a partnership, and that is for the good of the entire state.”

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A lot of love for Marge Klein

Marge Klein, center, poses for a group shot Saturday with, from left to right, her daughter Tammy Klein, politico Shari Williams, former Congressman Bob Beauprez and Routt County Treasurer Britta Horn. Williams and Horn jumped into the pool to raise money for Klein, who was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Marge Klein, center, poses for a group shot Saturday with those who helped raise money for her medical bills. From left to right, her daughter Tammy Klein, politico Shari Williams, former Congressman Bob Beauprez and Routt County Treasurer Brita Horn. Williams and Horn jumped into the pool to raise money for Klein, who was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Larry Klein knew his wife Marge had a lot of friends — after all, she had worked for two congressmen and been active in the Republican Party for eons — but he didn’t truly understand how many until she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Larry broke down this afternoon at a fundraiser to help his wife pay for chemo treatments, which weren’t covered by their insurance.

Larimer County Treasurer Irene Josey and Marge Klein.
Larimer County Treasurer Irene Josey and Marge Klein.

“It’s just overwhelming,” he said.

Plenty of bold-face names showed up at Brian Watson’s home in Greenwood Village for the “Pony Up for Marge” event that Larimer County Treasurer Irene Josey helped put together. Among them were two of her old bosses, former Congressman Bob Schaffer and Bob Beauprez.

Also present were Colorado Republican Party Chairman Steve House, Routt County Treasurer Brita Horn, Weld County Clerk Carly Koppes and Weld County Commissioner Barbara Kirkmeyer. Horn and political maven Shari Williams even took a dunk in Watson’s yet-to-be- heated swimming pool to raise money for their friend.

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