Tag: 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?

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?

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.

Job openings with the county pay $87,500/year plus benefits and require no experience

Salaries for each of the three Mesa County Commissioners for the month of June, 2019

Mesa County has two job openings right now that pay $87,300/year gross salary with additional generous perks and benefits, and that require absolutely no experience and no required level of educational attainment. That’s a pretty good wage in Mesa County for someone with no experience and no particular educational attainment, since the wages here are so low compared to the rest of the state. (The average weekly wage in Denver in the last quarter of 2018 was $1,414. In Mesa County it was $895). The opening is for two new county commissioners. The only requirements to be county commissioner — literally — are that you have to be a minimum of 18 years old and have lived in either County Commissioner District 1 or District 3 for at least one year. That’s it. In case you don’t believe me, the photo above gives the salaries for each of our three county commissioners for just one month — the month of June, 2019. The information was printed in the legal notices in the Sunday, August 11, 2019 issue of the Daily Sentinel. You can see the minimal requirements for the job yourself posted on Mesa County’s website. Multiply the above salary by 12 to get your new annual gross salary if you land this job ($87,500/year). Oh, and did I mention it’s also free to apply? You can even have a criminal record and it’s okay. This position can be held for up to 8 years.

Tim Foster’s political stumping as CMU president may violate laws

Ad posted by Janet Rowland may violate the Hatch Act and the Fair Campaign Practices Act

[Update 8/14/19: Mesa County Commissioner candidate Janet Rowland pulled this ad from her Facebook page after this article was published].

People are questioning whether an ad that Mesa County Commissioner candidate Janet Rowland recently posted on her campaign Facebook page violates the law.

In the ad, Colorado Mesa University President Tim Foster endorses Rowland for commissioner in his capacity as president of CMU, not as a private individual as the law requires. The law says Foster is permitted to make such an endorsement, but ONLY in his capacity as a private individual; he is specifically prohibited from using his position as a state employee for politicking or attempting to influence an election.

The ad appears to violate two separate federal laws: the Hatch Act and the Fair Campaign Practices Act.

Technical guidance issued for state employees by the Colorado’s Division of Human Resources (pdf) on the implementation of these laws states,

“The Hatch Act limits the political activities of individuals employed in state departments and higher education institutions (departments) that have programs financed in whole or in part by federal loans or grants.”

CMU accepts federal funding, thus Foster is subject to both laws.

Wife of CMU Vice President given vacant seat on G.J. Regional Airport Board

John and Linde Marshall (Photo: Facebook)

Eight people applied for the open at-large seat on the Grand Junction Regional Airport Board, and it was awarded to just one, Linde Marshall, who happens to be married to Colorado Mesa University Vice President of Student Affairs, John Marshall. According to CMU’s website, Linde Marshall also works for CMU, in the office of University President Tim Foster.

The Daily Sentinel for some reason failed to mention either of Linde Marshall’s important connections to CMU and it’s powerful president and rainmaker, Tim Foster when providing descriptions of the candidates for the seat. The Sentinel only said Ms. Marshall is “a small business owner with a background in public relations.” Seems like important info to omit.