Back in March, we penned an editorial supporting State Representative Ray Scott’s legislation aimed at reining in the out of control public trustee system in Colorado. While Scott’s legislation was ultimately successful, one of its co-sponsors, Representative Daniel Pabon (D-Denver) and Governor John Hickenlooper’s pack of lobbyists were astonishingly successful in watering it down so much that it really accomplished nothing.
With the gubernatorial ink on House Bill 12-1329 barely dry, The Denver Post published yet another story earlier this week uncovering even more corruption, double-dipping and otherwise shady activity taking place in virtually every single public trustee office around Colorado. That coverage – in a newspaper that the Governor actually reads – led to him to ask for the resignations of each public trustee within 30 days.
While the moral of this story might be that the only way to get John Hickenlooper to act is to get The Denver Post to write a critical story, we believe the situation paints a fairly obvious picture of an aloof governor that missed a fairly easy opportunity to reform government.
Moving forward, we suggest that the Governor and his staff spend more time reading bills to understand their purpose before blindly seeking a nebulous middle ground just for the sake of seeking middle ground.
As the Post investigation illustrated, a real problem existed with these unelected trustees and Representative Scott had a simple solution to fix it. Had his legislation not been hijacked by the compromise first police, how many thousands of taxpayer dollars might have been saved?
We understand that Representative Scott is calling on the Governor to avoid appointing replacement trustees until the legislature can craft a new reform solution. That seems wise.
Now that the Post has made it news, voters in rural Colorado finally have the Governor of Denver’s attention. And that’s a good thing.