Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Ethics and Cow Camps

-With both, you need to be careful where you step

By The Lone Front Ranger

There are two news items under my skin today, one serious and one simply annoying.

First, the serious one:

Governor Ritter has ignored a 1999 Executive Order, signed by former Governor Bill Owens. The purpose of this Executive Order is to “provide standards by which the conduct of all who serve in the Executive Department of the State of Colorado can be measured”. This Executive Order includes a requirement to file a Conflicts Disclosure Form each year. In the 3 years of this Governor’s administration, only one of his required staff and department executives has done so. Only one.

So what did the Governor do upon having this serious omission brought to his attention? Did he require his staff and department heads to go back and fix this problem? Did he document in their personnel files that they had neglected to meet the requirements of an Executive Order? Did he conduct an audit of the Chief of Staff’s office to determine how such an important task was overlooked for 3 years? Maybe apologize to the citizens of the State of Colorado for his oversight and lack of transparency? Any accountability? Isn’t this what we would expect from any regulated business?

Even if this is the first time you have seen this story, you can guess the answer is “no”. Governor Ritter has done none of this. Instead, he has superseded and replaced the 1999 Executive Order with one of his own, similarly worded, with no requirement that anyone in his Administration go back and complete the disclosure for the missing years. This is unacceptable behavior from Colorado’s Chief Executive. Ritter must be defeated in 2010. An ethical man would have made this right.

Second, the annoying one:

I am closely following the Gubernatorial primary on the Republican side. Back in July, Republican candidate, Congressman Scott McInnis began talking about the Ritter car tax increase as the “Speed Trap Tax”, and complaining about having to spend an extra $100 to register his “cow-camp wagon”. A cow camp, also referred to as a sheep camp, is a type of ranch vehicle. Initially, I was annoyed that McInnis was simply using this “cow camp” as proof that his wife is from a ranching family and proof that he may not really be a million-dollar-a-year lobbyist – which he is. But further, the new fees had been passed earlier in the year, had been the subject of a contentious legislative fight in Denver, had been in the news for months, had generated thousands of letters to various elected officials at the Capitol, and has affected nearly everyone in Colorado. And McInnis started complaining about it only when the fee hit him personally, not as a matter of principle.

Then today, as McInnis is in the midst of the re-launch of his campaign, there is this report in the Vail Daily that details his campaign stop in Edwards:

“After the event, the candidate gave tours of his solar-paneled sheep camp, which was parked outside Rick & Kelly's American Bistro. The 20-foot sheep camp — a trailer where ranchers sleep while they care for livestock on pastures — symbolizes McInnis' opposition to the state's late-vehicle registration fee, he said. McInnis said he was slapped with a $100 fee for the trailer, which he said had expired plates because it was being built on blocks.”

I don’t want a Governor who can’t let go of a personal slight, OR, doesn’t know when a prop has run its course. Please, Congressman, when do you let go and not fixate on this? If you think this is an isolated incident (and that I am just easily annoyed) and not an actual character flaw, check out the Congressman’s melt-down on The Caplis and Silverman Show in August:


Do you want either of these men as your Governor?

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