By David Martin

County assessor appointed


February 21, 2018

David Divis will take over the Sweetwater County Assessor’s Office after a 4-1 vote Tuesday by the Sweetwater County Commissioners.

John Kolb was the only dissenting vote.

Divis takes over for Pat Drinkle, who retired Feb. 3. Divis worked in the assessor’s office for the past six years, serving as Drinkle’s chief deputy. He worked in the Sweetwater County Treasurer’s Office prior to that, beginning his employment in 1991.

Following state statutes, the Sweetwater County Democratic Party forwarded three candidates to the commissioners last week. Two others aside from Divis submitted applications to the party. Mike Masterson, one of the applicants, is a Green River resident and a retired OCI employee, while the second person, Michele Irwin, is a rancher living north of Green River. Irwin has attempted to run for a seat in the Wyoming House of Representatives in House District 18 during the past two elections, but was unsuccessful in both bids. Both are active members in their political party.

However, Irwin’s candidacy was determined to be invalid Tuesday morning. The mobile home she owns at Hamel Ranch is not considered real property under statutes dictating the candidacy of someone running for county assessor.

The home is considered personal property because there isn’t a foundation built beneath the trailer. Irwin disqualified herself at the start of the hearing.

“We made an honest mistake in vetting one of our candidates,” RJ Pieper, chairman of the Sweetwater County Democratic Party, said.

Commissioner Wally Johnson said Irwin’s withdrawal didn’t impact his recommendation, saying he believes Divis should become the next assessor. The other commissioners agreed with Johnson, with the exception of Kolb, who wanted to appoint Masterson to the post. Each commissioner vocally indicated which candidate they wanted to appoint during the hearing, followed by the 4-1 vote.

Divis will take over Drinkle’s unexpired term, which ends this year.

The last time the commissioners replaced an elected official was when former Assessor David Rauzi retired from his post in 2012. Following the same procedure, the commissioners selected Drinkle, who was Rauzi’s chief deputy when he retired.

Divis said he intends to run for the office later this year.


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