GOP angry about Colorado’s stimulus overseer
Associated Press Writer
Denver, CO Colorado
DENVER, Colorado – Republican state lawmakers are criticizing a decision by Gov. Bill Ritter to create a new taxpayer-funded position to oversee stimulus dollars and economic growth in Colorado, saying it’s his responsibility to do so.
“To hire someone and pay them to do your job and to take the responsibility if something goes wrong is just incredible to me,” House Minority Leader Mike May, R-Parker, said Tuesday.
Ritter said Monday that Don Elliman, director of the Colorado Office of Economic Development, will serve as state government’s first chief operating officer. Ritter said the appointment will allow the state to take advantage of Elliman’s private-sector management skills.
Elliman will be responsible for direct management, supervision and oversight of federal stimulus funds, which Ritter said will be a key part of Colorado’s economic recovery.
Elliman will continue to collect his $146,000-a-year salary and a new person will be hired to take his place.
But May said Elliman should not have been appointed to his new job.
“The buck should stop with the governor. Passing the buck, especially at a time when Colorado citizens are short on bucks, is not the way to conduct the state’s business,” May said.
Ritter’s spokesman, Evan Dreyer, said it would be wasteful for the state to spend billions of dollars without proper oversight.
“The governor felt Don’s skill set made him the right person to do the job,” Dreyer said.
Senate Minority Leader Josh Penry, R-Grand Junction, said Ritter is abdicating his responsibility.
“I think this administration has been wayward and indecisive on a host of issues,” Penry said.
Elliman had a 32-year career at Time Inc., including publisher of People magazine and president and publisher of Sports Illustrated.
From 2000 to 2004, he served as president and CEO of Ascent Sports, which became Kroenke Sports and Entertainment, owner of the Colorado Avalanche, Denver Nuggets and Pepsi Center.
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