By Seth Richardson
The degree of cowardice and corruption at City Hall has reached a new zenith with the payoff of Sue Skiffington-Blumberg, former city PR flack who deliberately trashed Colorado Springs in the press rather than doing the job she was hired to do. This week, acting City Manager Steve Cox authorized a $38,800 severance payout to Skiffington-Blumberg, saying “I think 10 years of service warrants that kind of loyalty from the employer” and claimed that she is “a good person.”
She may be a good person, but she’s also a corrupt city employee who deliberately and knowingly betrayed the city and the taxpayers by callously planting negative stories in the national media as the operative of a widespread conspiracy within city government to punish taxpayers for refusing to approve a new tax. And as a desperate last act, Cox is trying to cover up and minimize the potential fallout from this scandal by allowing Skiffington-Blumberg to resign and giving her severance pay, before the new administration of Mayor-elect Bach can take the reins and forbid the payola.
What Skiffington-Blumberg (not to mention Culbreth-Graft) did ought to qualify as criminal fraud, since she was specifically hired to improve, not denigrate the image of Colorado Springs. Not only should she not be getting a severance bonus, she should be being sued by the city for the incalculable economic damage she personally did to the city’s image.
Skiffington-Blumberg insists that she was just following orders, specifically the orders of ex-City Manager Penny Culbreth-Graft, but that’s a lame excuse for such a deliberate betrayal of trust.
Skiffington-Blumbers owed her allegiance and loyalty to the taxpayers, who were her employers, and she should have blown the whistle on the scandal immediately. As Edmund Burke once wrote, “all that is required for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” Skiffington-Blumberg was paid more than one hundred thousand dollars a year to look after the best economic interests of the city, and she should punished for betraying that trust, not be rewarded for it.
So why did Cox pay her off?
Probably to shut her up about who knew what, and when. That’s the only explanation of why she wasn’t instantly fired for cause and frog-marched by security from the building after Wayne Laugesen’s bombshell editorial hit the street. The conspiracy to trash Colorado Springs in the national press cannot have been a secret, and it’s simply inconceivable that others besides Skiffington-Blumberg and Culbreth-Graft were not deeply involved.
And that leads to two places: The City Council and the Mayor’s office.
Just a little conspiracy theorizing leads to the inevitable conclusion that the corruption goes much higher than the City Manager, and there’s simply not much room left at the top of the political food chain for plausible deniability.
It’s time to get to the bottom of this conspiracy Mayor-elect Bach. Find out who knew what, and when. Convene an investigation and hire a special prosecutor to investigate and prosecute this fraud upon the people of Colorado Springs. Name names publicly. Fire anyone and everyone who had any shred of knowledge of this conspiracy and didn’t come forward immediately, no matter what their lame excuse. Reveal which elected officials were in on the crime so that they can be recalled and turned out of office.
Mayor-elect Bach, if your new administration is to have any credibility at all, you have to clean house and root out any and all corruption without a shred of mercy.
That’s what the people of Colorado Springs deserve. Show them that you will be a strong Mayor in no uncertain terms. Use this prime opportunity to set the new standard for fidelity, honesty, honor, integrity and openness in government by refusing to tolerate corruption of any kind.
This is your chance to achieve greatness, seize it.
© 2011 Altnews