Category: Cronyism

Colorado Mesa University Trustees anoint John Marshall as next President

New CMU President John Marshall. Many in the community considered his appointment  a foregone conclusion.

Colorado Mesa University’s Board of Trustees today appointed John Marshall as the next president of CMU.

Marshall, who formerly worked as a Republican political operative, was hired at CMU in 2007 by Tim Foster as “Development Director,”  a job that at the time paid $100,000/year with no experience in academia. He was widely considered one of Tim Foster’s many Republican crony hires at CMU.

One student called the appointment “Cronyism at its finest” saying “I’m sure this was decided before Foster even stepped down…and the ‘search’ was, well, just a farce.”

In the August 21, 2006 Denver Post, Marshall publicly disparaged progressive Coloradans, calling them “pampered, bed-wetting liberals” and adding “No one cares what they say about anything.” CMU people have related several anecdotes where they observed Marshall being dismissive of incidents of homophobia involving students on and off campus.

Concerns arise over CMU Presidential candidate Mirta Martin

Dr. Mirta Martin (2016)

Some faculty members at Colorado Mesa University (CMU) are raising red flags about CMU presidential candidate Dr. Mirta Martin.

The concerns stem in part from controversies arising during Dr. Martin’s tenure as President of Fort Hays State University (FHSU) in Kansas.

The Kansas Board of Regents hired Dr. Martin as FHSU University President on May 2, 2014. She resigned abruptly on November, 23, 2016.

Concerns about Dr. Martin’s management of the University were described in a November 11, 2016 article posted by Tiger Media Network (TMN), Fort Hays University’s “convergent media hub.” The article,  “Tempers Flare at Faculty Senate Meeting,” gives a detailed account of a contentious FHSU Faculty Senate meeting held on November 1, 2016 about then-FHSU President Martin, who is now one of three finalists being considered by the CMU Board of Trustees for president of CMU.

Shoe-throwing and other ‘unprofessional behavior’

A history of Republican cronyism at Colorado Mesa University

CMU President Tim Foster

Colorado Mesa University (CMU) President Tim Foster has long used CMU to create high-paying jobs for Republican friends who either lost elections, were term-limited out of office or simply had no other place to go. His use of CMU for patronage appointments for exclusively Republican pals is so notorious that in 2007 Leslie Robinson, a writer for the Colorado Independent, dubbed the school “Mesa Republican College.”

The financial misuse of a taxpayer-funded institution by a person in position of power to benefit friends and acquaintances is called “cronyism” Its formal definition is “the appointment of friends and associates to positions of authority, without proper regard to their qualifications.” People often confuse cronyism with nepotism, which is when a powerful person appoints family members to positions of authority without regard to their qualifications.

What’s wrong with cronyism?

Locals alarmed that CMU VP John Marshall is on the short list for new University president

Colorado Mesa University (CMU) announced today that CMU Vice President John Marshall is one of three candidates under final consideration to be the university’s new president.

A lot of local people are unhappy with that.

Ordinarily the second-in-command at a higher educational institution would seem a logical choice to step into the top spot, but this is the exception.

Did Mesa County Commissioner Janet Rowland water down the County Attorney job description to allow her to hire her pal Rose?

Former Mesa County Commissioner Rose Pugliese was licensed to practice law in 2007.

That’s 13 years ago, and she spent 8 of of those years as Mesa County Commissioner. During her five years as a private practice attorney, Rose Pugliese messed up enough to have a malpractice lawsuit filed against her for giving bad advice. That case went to court and Mesa County District Judge David Bottger ruled that Pugliese did indeed give her clients wrong advice, and proceeded to invalidate a settlement agreement Pugliese had written for her clients based on the bad advice.

We don’t know what else Pugliese did while she was in private practice, but we do know that she has never worked for any local government as an attorney before.

Yet with NO experience as a local government attorney, and short and questionable experience as a private attorney, somehow Rose Pugliese is on a magical trajectory to become the new Mesa County Attorney, overseeing a department of 18 people, and replacing someone with 33 years experience as a local government attorney, six of those as the Mesa County Attorney, six years of outstanding job reviews, and under whom no scandals or improprieties whatsoever occurred in his department all that time.

Red flags abound over Commissioner Rowland’s struggle to appoint her friend Pugliese as County Attorney

My first attempt at a political cartoon

In an outrageous display of unabashed Mesa County Republican cronyism, Commissioner Janet Rowland is working hard to install her pal, former County Commissioner Rose Pugliese, into the position of Mesa County Attorney, the highest-paid position in the county. The position would double the salary Rose use to earn when she was commissioner just before Janet.

The situation portends great danger for the County, since the Commissioners have tremendous power, no oversight and Janet already has a long and worrisome track record of impropriety and unethical behavior.

Why installing Rose Pugliese as County Attorney is a crazy mistake

Rose Pugliese is the sole finalist being considered for County Attorney.

A top headline in yesterday’s Daily Sentinel announced that former Mesa County Commissioner Rose Pugliese is the sole finalist for the job of Mesa County Attorney, which, as of 2019 was the highest-paid job in the County.

Based on Pugliese’s qualifications, or lack thereof, this is nothing short of crazy, and it smacks loudly of cronyism by Mesa County’s Old Guard Republican Establishment (OGREs).

Pugliese won consideration as sole contender for the job despite having a track record that would probably get the rest of us fired.

Oh, where to begin?

CO homeowners helpless against rogue homeowner associations

The Moonridge Falls subdivision HOA in Grand Junction suddenly locked homeowners out of their own common space this winter, nominally for safety, even though no accidents had occurred in the park and no one has ever been hurt there. The HOA effectively treated all homeowners as though they were trespassers in their own common space. Across the state, subdivisions that lock off commonly-owned amenities, like swimming pools or tennis courts — whether for safety or to eliminate vandalism — provide all homeowners keys to the locks on the amenities because the homeowners own the amenities and pay the substantial costs of maintaining them.

Homeowners in the Moonridge Falls subdivision in Grand Junction woke up last December 21 to find their homeowners association (HOA) had suddenly locked them out of their own common space park.

Residents couldn’t remember a time when the gates to the park had ever been locked. No one had been hurt in the park. No accidents had occurred in the park recently, not even a close call, but for some reason the HOA suddenly decided to lock the park and keep everyone out, even homeowners, as though it was a crime scene or a grave emergency had just occurred. The HOA put up a sign saying the park would stay locked as long as there was ice on the pond. Yet long after the ice had melted, the locks remained, leading residents o wonder what was really up, and what they could do about it.

Beware electing a developer as County Commissioner. Here’s why:

Republican Mesa County Commissioner candidate is shown trespassing on the Grand Valley Canal banks in his latest ad.

Cody Davis is running for Mesa County Commissioner in District 1. His website doesn’t say it, but Cody is a partner with his brother in Chronos Builders, a company that develops land and builds houses and subdivisions, and as such there couldn’t be a worse choice to hold this particular office.

The fact that he is a land developer and home builder is precisely what makes him not just an inappropriate person, but potentially a dangerous person to sit on the Mesa County Board of Commissioners.

Why?

Scott McInnis tells write-in candidate Bob Prescott to get out of the commissioner race because he’s “not on the team”

Mesa County Commissioner and OGRE leader, Scott McInnis

Click to hear the radio ad write-in candidate Bob Prescott made in response to Mesa County Commissioner Scott McInnis’ repeated bullying (now playing on Moose Country radio stations):

The leader of Mesa County’s Old Guard Republican Establishment (OGREs), Scott McInnis, has told write-in commissioner candidate Bob Prescott to his face, twice now, that he needs to get out of the race, because “You’re not on the team,” and “You need to just go away” because “you’ve already lost.”

Prescott reports McInnis dissed him this way most recently at a Mesa County Republican Party luncheon held at Warehouse 2565 where around 30 people were in attendance.

Why is McInnis so rude to Prescott?

CMU President Tim Foster appears to have quietly un-endorsed Janet Rowland

Original endorsement ad Janet Rowland posted ad on her Facebook page that violated the Hatch and Fair Campaign Practices Acts. She later revised it to remove Foster’s title as President of CMU.

Colorado Mesa University (CMU) President Tim Foster appears to have quietly asked Mesa County Commissioner candidate Janet Rowland (R) to remove any mention of his name from her campaign Facebook page, effectively un-endorsing her — a reversal of his previous whole-hearted endorsement.

Tim Foster endorses anti-science candidate with a track record of plagiarism for Mesa County Commissioner

“Principled”? Tim Foster’s endorsement of anti-science, documented plagiarist Janet Rowland for Mesa County Commissioner. (Screen shot taken from Janet Rowland’s Facebook page on 8/19/20.)

Tim Foster wants to make one thing clear: he is endorsing Janet Rowland for Mesa County Commissioner not in his capacity as longtime President of Colorado Mesa University (CMU), but strictly as an individual.

Well, Okay.

While he certainly has the right as a private citizen to endorse Rowland, doing so nevertheless makes Mesa County residents scratch their heads and wonder why Foster, who everyone knows heads a local university with a Nursing Program, Graduate Nursing Programs and a Physician Assistant program, would endorse an anti-science candidate who actively promotes Q-Anon-based anti-mask disinformation on her social media.

It seems incongruous. Rowland’s posts directly conflict with guidance issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control for controlling the pandemic. All this is going on while CMU is making a monumental effort at a tremendous expense to get students and staff to comply with strict on-campus masking and physical distancing rules to minimize the potential public health threat posed by CMU’s opening the school year with in-person learning amid the deadly Covid-19 pandemic.

How Trump’s sabotage of the Post Office is playing out locally

Trump mega-donor and Postmaster General Louis DeJoy

In May of 2020, President Trump appointed Louis DeJoy, a Trump mega-donor with no postal experience as Postmaster General of the United States.

After taking office in June, Mr. DeJoy immediately started making changes to the Postal Service that resulted in delayed delivery of mail across the country. His actions included removal of 23 top postal executives, removing high-speed mail sorting machines from post offices around the country and prohibiting employees from logging overtime to deliver mail.

Rally planned 8/19 to save the Post Office from the Trump administration’s sabotage-NOTE THIS RALLY HAS BEEN CHANGED TO TUESDAY, AUG. 25TH AT NOON

A rally is planned at noon on Wednesday, August 19 TUESDAY, AUGUST 25TH, in the parking lot behind the Alpine Bank building across from the Main Post Office to protest the deliberate slow-down of the U.S. Postal Service by the Trump administration. The rally is to show our community’s support for postal workers who work under unbelievable constraints. Attendees will walk to Senator Cory Gardner’s office to demand, in person, that he join Democrats in the Senate in calling for an immediate reversal of the ongoing attacks on our right to vote by mail.

Masks are required, and even though the rally will be outside, it will likely be difficult to maintain six feet of physical distancing from others, so please take care to maintain the gap. It will also be quite hot outside, so consider wearing a hat and bringing water. If the poor air quality in the valley has been negatively impacting your health, please consider staying home.

Mesa County Commissioner write-in candidate faces steep hurdles, including misinformation and potential bias from Clerk’s Office


Employees of the Mesa County Clerk’s Elections department haven’t correctly understood what counts as a valid write-in vote, but the misunderstanding was discovered in enough time to correct it before the November general election.

The problem became apparent on July 13, 2020 when write-in candidate for the District 3 County Commissioner seat Bob Prescott, went to the Mesa County Clerk’s Elections Office to ask exactly what constitutes a valid write-in vote.

Prescott asks the clerk “What do you consider a legal vote” for a write-in candidate?

The clerk responds “That’s up to you. It needs to appear just like this, as ‘Bob Prescott.’ If they put in ‘Robert,” it would be rejected.”

According to Colorado law, that information was wrong.

Shadowy Chamber “social welfare” group funds billboard thanking racially tone-deaf members of G.J. City Council “for their service”

The Chamber and WCBA’s billboard thanking the most tone-deaf city council members when it comes to racism in Grand Junction

The little-known, seedy political arm of the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce, the Western Colorado Business Alliance (WCBA), has appeared again in Grand Junction, this time funding a billboard praising four sitting Grand Junction City Council members who recently earned the reputation for being the most tone-deaf when it comes to racism: Philip Pe’a, Duke Wortmann, Phyllis Norris and Kraig Andrews.

Pe’a was the councilman who was so threatened by what he claimed was the presence of G.J. Police Department’s “swat team” at the June 3 Council meeting that he proclaimed he thought he might need to bring his Glock handgun into the meeting. That was the meeting that was attended by a crowd of City residents who showed up to protest pervasive racism they had seen or experienced in Grand Junction, or to support friends who had experienced it.

Grand Junction’s Police Chief later confirmed there were no SWAT team members at the meeting that day.

Despite overwhelming evidence of the President’s guilt, CO Sen. Cory Gardner votes to acquit him

Republican Cory Gardner voted to protect Trump, who was documented to have violated U.S. law, from removal from office.

Colorado’s Republican Senator Cory Gardner voted this afternoon to acquit President Trump of the high crimes of obstructing Congress and abusing the power of his office, even though House Representatives presented overwhelming evidence during the impeachment trial that the President was guilty on both charges. A vote of two thirds of the Senate was required to convict the President. With the exception of a single Republican vote by Senator Mitt Romney of Utah, who voted to remove the President, the vote was divided along party lines.

The House accused the President of withholding taxpayer funds destined for Ukraine in an attempt to force Ukraine to announce fake investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden — a move that Trump envisioned would advantage him in the 2020 elections — and of blocking Congress from accessing witnesses and documents pertinent to the President’s actions.

GAO concluded Trump broke the law

Beware electing Janet Rowland as county commissioner again

Former County Commissioner Janet Rowland (January 2005 – January 2013) once compared same-sex marriage to bestiality on a state-wide talk show, drawing condemnation from around the nation.

Janet Rowland is running for Mesa County Commissioner.

Yes, again.

She’s already been a Mesa County Commissioner — from January, 2005 to January, 2013 — but that doesn’t mean her being commissioner again is a good idea. It arguably is not a good idea. From her previous two terms, we have an abundance of experience with her and know what is in store if Janet Rowland gets another chance to be Commissioner. 

So let’s take a look at the past and see what it tells us.

Morally and ethically challenged

Certainly Janet has done some good things through her career, like trying to address child abuse and finding homes for foster kids. While those endeavors are laudable, we also need to take into account all the things she’s done that have set a poor example for kids, and our entire community and that have harmed the County.

Plagiarism

Shortly after losing statewide election for lieutenant governor as Bob Beauprez’s running mate in 2006, and while she was previously Mesa County Commissioner, Janet was a guest columnist for the Grand Junction Free Press, at the time a competing newspaper to the Daily Sentinel. She wrote several articles for the Free Press until one day a sharp reader noticed Janet had lifted most of one of her columns word for word from a government-published pamphlet, and brought this information to the attention of the Free Press’s editor.

 

Feb. 3, 2007 column in the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel about Janet Rowland plagiarizing a guest column she wrote for the G.J. Free Press.

The Daily Sentinel reported on Rowland’s plagiarism on February 3, 2007:

A Mesa County official has plagiarized a government substance abuse booklet in her two most recent columns in the Grand Junction Free Press, that newspaper’s editor confirmed Friday.

The majority of Mesa County Commissioner Janet Rowland’s Feb. 1 column in the Free Press, titled “The importance of a strong parent-child bond,” was lifted verbatim from a 2006 National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism publication titled, “Making a Difference: Talk to Your Teen About Alcohol.”

A reading of Rowland’s unattributed column and the text of the booklet revealed the two are virtually identical. The only differences were found in the column’s first sentence and its lead into several bullet points.

The editor said if Rowland had been a staff writer, she probably would have been fired.

 

Janet’s first reaction to the plagiarism charge was to claim she couldn’t even remember writing the columns. (Denial.) When that failed to tamp down the controversy, she next said the information she used in her columns had been intended for “mass duplication anyhow,” adding that if people wanted to make what she did out as something evil, that was THEIR prerogative. (Sour grapes.) Next, she blamed the plagiarism on others, saying she had included the necessary attributions in her column, but Free Press staff had edited them out. (Lying and blaming.) Free Press management quickly produced the emails that contained the articles exactly as they had received them from Janet for publication, showing that they contained no references or attributions.