SOS + CCCA = One heck of an incredible journey

The Colorado Secretary of State’s elections division regularly attends the Colorado County Clerks Association conference. Some of the staffers at last week’s event were Ben Schler, Eddie Morgan, Caleb Thornton, Melissa Polk, Danny Casias, Jessi Romero and Steve Bouey. (SOS photo)

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and his staff got great reviews from those who attended the Colorado County Clerks Association winter conference, and the secretary was equally complimentary.

“I love working with the clerk and recorders,” he told conference-goers. “You’re not afraid to follow the law, and that’s true whether there’s a recall in Custer County or with someone who submits petitions.”

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams hands Eagle County Clerk Regina O’Brien an award for her and her staff for participating in SOS sponsored training. (SOS photo)

The three-day conference in Colorado Springs concluded last week, and the clerks will gather again in the summer. The conferences offer workshops on a variety of topics that clerks deal with, including vehicle title registration and recording  documents.

County clerks run elections, but the secretary of state is the chief elections officer, and that’s where the SOS comes in to play at conferences. Secretary of State staffers participate in workshops on a variety of topics, including security, ballot access and changes to election laws.

Routt County Clerk Kim Bonner said the “wonderful people at the SOS office” are her staff’s “lifeline.”

Eagle County Clerk Regina O’Brien praised the SOS and her fellow clerks.

“At every conference, I glean tips, tricks and lessons learned that help me continually improve our processes. I love being able to share our practices as well in a effort to help others across the state,” she said. “In the current political climate, it’s inspiring and encouraging to see so many working towards the same shared goal — excellence!”

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Colorado election staffer witnesses historic Armenian election

Steve Bouey and his observation team partner, Magda, from Poland. (Steve Bouey photo)

Steve Bouey, the campaign finance manager for the Colorado Secretary of State, just completed travel to his 74th country.

Bouey felt right at home in Armenia. The altitude in the capital city of Yerevan is only 1,000 feet lower than that of Denver’s famous Mile High mark. And Armenia’s landscape is filled with mountains and picturesque forests.

As an observer for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Bouey has traveled abroad dozens of times and met hundreds of foreigners who are passionate about establishing and maintaining free and fair elections.

This was the first election of its kind in Armenia. A constitutional referendum approved in December 2015 changed the government from a semi-presidential system to a parliamentary system.

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The not-so secret lives of Secretary of State staffers

A year ago, Wyatt Ryder hiked more than 40 miles in the Grand Canyon. He recently joined the Secretary of State's office as an HR technician. He mentioned the hike and also his fluency in Russian when asked to provide three facts about himself.
A year ago, Wyatt Ryder hiked more than 40 miles in the Grand Canyon. He recently joined the Secretary of State’s office as an HR technician. He mentioned the hike and also his fluency in Russian when asked to provide facts about himself. (Ryder photo)

Carla Moore’s cousin wrote “Mustang Sally.” Jackie Cuin caught the bouquet at her husband’s first wedding. National Geographic in 2010 named Steve Bouey one of its “Adventurers of the Year.”

When the Colorado Secretary of State’s office asked staffers to provide three “fun or unique” facts about themselves, all sorts of factoids came out.

Joel Albin went as a French maid the last time he dressed up for Halloween. Chris Cash served as an official scorekeeper when Denver hosted the NCAA Final Four in 1990.  Kris Reynolds’ declared major in college was “Music Performance for the Violin.

And although Jessamyn Geesaman went through years of speech therapy, when she gets mad she still sounds a bit like Elmer Fudd.

The fun-facts exercise was all part of employee appreciation week at the Colorado SOS. The event included daily quizzes for prizes, a scavenger hunt and pastries and coffee.

“I’ve been privileged to work with a wonderful group of people these past two years,” said Secretary of State Wayne Williams. “My colleagues’ quirks and experiences outside government guide us as we develop common sense solutions to help Coloradans.”

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Goodbye to the positive Jan Perry

Jan Perry and D.J. Davis, at her retirement party Thursday. In the background are campaign finance manager Steve Bouey and Trent Parker from the IT division. (Kris Reynolds photo)
Jan Perry and D.J. Davis, the deputy director of the Business & Licensing Division, at her retirement party Thursday. In the background are campaign finance manager Steve Bouey and Josh Johnson in voter registration. (Kris Reynolds photo)

For someone who worked at the Secretary of State’s office for less than four years, Jan Perry’s retirement festivities were a big deal.

Her colleagues in the Election Division hosted a potluck lunch for her on Thursday. Later that afternoon, other staffers joined them in the conference room for cake, cupcakes and fruit.

Perry admitted she was surprised at how many people showed up, but then as Secretary of Wayne Williams wrote in her retirement letter, “Your co-workers universally love your can-do spirit and willingness to happily take on all duties. Everyone has mentioned how much you will be missed.”

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Kris Reynolds to the rescue

Colorado Secretary of State staffers join in for a surprise birthday party for campaign finance guru Kris Reynolds, center, who is seated next to her mother, Sandy Reynolds, right. (SOS photo)
Colorado Secretary of State staffers join in Tuesday for a surprise birthday party for campaign finance trainer Kris Reynolds, center, who is seated next to her mother, Sandy Reynolds, right. (SOS photo)

One of the e-mails I received after ending a 35-year-career in journalism to join the Colorado Secretary of State’s office came from Michele Austin, a Republican I met covering the Colorado legislature who advised me, “Get to know Kris.”

She was referring to Kris Reynolds, part of the SOS’ campaign finance team. Ever since I went to work for Secretary Wayne Williams 13 months ago, Kris has been there to hand hold, advise and say sweetly, “It’s OK, Lynn. Campaign finance is complicated.”

And that’s why Kris didn’t suspect a thing when I called her at 3 p.m. today to say, “I’ve got 9News in my office right now and they’re asking campaign finance questions I don’t know how to answer. Can you come help?”

Read moreKris Reynolds to the rescue