Parks Director Resigns After CALL7 Investigation

Adams County Director Found Shopping, At Hair Salon, On Taxpayers' Time

The job pays more than $112,000 a year including benefits, but CALL7 Investigators found the director of Adams County parks and open space spending a lot of time on personal errands and little time in the office.

As a result of the CALL7 Investigation, Crystal Gray officially resigned from her job on Monday. (Click here to read resignation letter.)

Gray described herself as a "hands-on" director, out of the office and in the field checking on projects like the current rehabilitation of a building at the Adams County Fairgrounds.

"I'm a parks director that kind of subscribes to the walking around management style," Gray told CALL7 Investigator John Ferrugia.

But in the weeks we monitored Gray's working hours, most of the walking around we noted was on the Pearl Street Mall in Boulder, side trips to department stores and other assorted personal errands. There were a few work-related meetings in Adams County.

"Do you think you spend eight hours a day working?" asked Ferrugia.

Gray replied, "Yes, I definitely spend eight hours a day working for the county. I’d say for me, as an average, it's probably 50 hours a week."

But our investigation showed she did not leave her house, for work, before 10:30 or 11:00 in the morning, and often not getting to work before noon in the two months we studied.

In an interview with Gray, Ferrugia asked, "During the eight hours that you're generally working, do you go shopping?"

"Not normally. I really can't think of a time," she responded.

We used Dec. 4 as an example.

On that day, Gray left her Boulder home at 10:35 a.m. She stopped at Marshall's at 10:43 a.m. and was inside shopping for over an hour.

She did not arrive at her Adams County office until nearly 1 p.m. and after a few hours, went home.

On her official Adams County time card, which Gray signed, it showed she worked an eight-hour day.

"I can assure you, John, that I've either worked at home in the morning or I've worked later on, but I always put in over a 40-hour week," said Gray.

On Dec. 5, Gray arrived at work around 11:45 a.m. and was at the office for about 10 minutes before going to a hair salon. She did not get back to the office until 3 p.m. and stayed about two hours. Yet, on each of these days her time sheet indicates Gray worked eight hours.

Another example was on Dec. 19, when Gray left her house at 11:14 a.m. and strolled the Pearl Street Mall, stopped to talk with friends, and then went shopping at a store named Chico's. After a side trip to Aurora, she finally arrived at the office at 1:44 p.m., in time for a 2:30 p.m. meeting at the county administration building in Brighton.

"The part you don't see is the work I’m doing at home, or on the weekend or in the evening," Gray said.

So why then, after 7NEWS requested her time cards, did she immediately begin arriving at work around 9 a.m.?

"I decided not to do so much work at home. I wanted to make sure that the appearance, that if I was sitting in my seat doing my work, that was something I should pay attention to," said Gray.

"I'm very disappointed. I would expect more from her and all of my other directors," said the administrator of Adams County, Jim Robinson, Gray’s boss. "I think Adams County has a reputation for a lot of hard-working, honest employees. In this case, I'm a taxpayer of Adams County and I wouldn't think I was getting my money's worth."

But Gray argues that her obligation to taxpayers is to make sure her department operates as it should.

"When we get the big grants, when we get the projects in on time, when I am responsive to the staff, that's how they know that the work is getting done," Gray said.

Even so, she admitted to county leaders that she did not receive authorization to flex her schedule or to do extensive work from home. As a result, Gray resigned.

Robinson told 7NEWS, he has accepted her resignation and the CALL7 Investigation proves the directors in Adams County need to be more accountable.