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July 12, 2006 07:56 PM UTC

Who Wants to Run for Auditor?

  • by: Colorado Pols

Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper’s State of the City address is today, but one thing you won’t hear from him is his love for Auditor Dennis Gallagher.

Gallagher has been feuding with the Mayor’s office for months, with the rhetoric heating up over the last couple of weeks, and apparently Hickenlooper has had enough. Hick’s inner circle has put out the word that the Mayor will back another candidate for auditor and go the whole nine yards for that candidate – from fundraising to lobbying The Denver Post and the Rocky Mountain News for their endorsement.

Who will that candidate be? Some early names include Brad Buchanan, who lost a poor campaign for a Denver School Board seat to Jill Conrad but is a friend of Hickenlooper’s; and City Council member Elbra Wedgeworth.

If you’re a Denver politician looking for a new job, file your application with Hickenlooper’s crew.


17 thoughts on “Who Wants to Run for Auditor?

  1.   Hizzoner will draft his utility in fielder, Michael Bennet, to leave his post at D.P.S. and run for auditor as Hick’s running mate.  As for Gallagher, if it looks like he will be successful running for re-election, he will probably give it another go.  If it looks like Hick’s annointed auditor candidate is gonna beat Gallagher, then Dennis offers himself as the sacraficial lamb to oppose Hick for Mayor. 
      And it may not be the cakewalk that it looks like right now.  There are the problems w/ the Election Commission.  Hick may be antagonizing regular Dems w/ his refusal to date to endorse Bill Ritter while allegedly playing “footsie” with Both Ways.

    1. OQD, you said, “then Dennis offers himself as the sacraficial lamb to oppose Hick for Mayor.” My sources inside City Hall say that Dennis has been positioning himself for precisely the run for Mayor with all the shenanigans he’s been pulling lately. When I asked why Dennis is coming down so hard on Hick, the reply was, “What other reason (running for Mayor) could Dennis have?” Dennis has delusions of Mayorhood, a common malady for any elected person (delusions of winning the next highest seat, “Hey I got elected to the State Senate today, tomorrow I’ll be President of the Senate, then Governor”). Berkfeldt isn’t helping the situation by being Dennis’s yes man. Dennis has gone way far beyond “Anti Mares” actions and into the fantasy land of believing he can be the next “Hizonner”. IF he wakes up to reality and decides he want to run for re-election he’s in big trouble with Hick now openly recruiting and backing an opponent. The Dennis and Dennis show may be over (Gallagher and Berkfeldt).

  2. Didn’t Dennis do this before, running against McNichols when he was at his peak of popularity, and accomplishing precisely nothing?  Does he think he’s become more appealing to voters in the intervening decades?  I think Susan Barnes-Gelt had the right idea; just eliminate the office and hire an auditing firm for regular audits.

    1. . . .that’s for sure.  I heard about Dennis’ run from a former Denver journalist, so I don’t have a concrete date; my guess is it was towards the end of McNichols’ tenure (i.e. late 70s or 80). 

  3. As someone who has worked with the city as a contractor, I have personal experience with either the incompetence or Machiavellian nature of “Dennis & Denis” in the auditors office (not sure which it is). There is a hell of a lot more political maneuvering going on in that office than auditing. I’ll support a half-trained monkey over Dennis & Denis any day.

  4.   I always thought that Dennis Gallagher was a pompous, preening, pretentious windbag who was overly impressed with his sense of self importance but I never thought he was delusional.  And even if he is, isn’t it a part of Denis Berkenfeldt’s job description “to keep at least one foot grounded in reality and keep the boss from making a complete ass of himself?”
    P.S.  Let’s not forget Dennis’ promise when he ran for auditor that he would not use this office as a stepping stone to the mayoralty. 

  5. Welllllll  Gallagher was not supposed to be able to win city-wide and he did win the Auditor’s race. He did run for mayor back in the late 80’s, I think. Who I don’t understand is Hickenlooper…why would he invite a nasty, North Denver alley fight over the Auditor’s office? Hick and Ritter are the fair haired boys of the Democratic powers that be; above the fray and “ah shucks.” Their elected terms are sychronized so as not to coincide and they are both poised to ride the anticipated Democratic wave into a successful future.  So why take on a fight the Mayor doesn’t need?  The Mayor hasn’t openly taken on anyone and so why now and why Dennis?  The Mayor has consolidated his power with “appointments”…Bennet to DPS; Head of Human Rights to DPS Board member Lucia Guzman…

    Does anyone remember the last time, a “business” audited a public institution? Ten years ago or so, the Chamber of Commerce helped raise money for an “independent audit” of Denver Public Schools.  The audit presented an ambitious plan for reorganization and then the Board of Education (always a rubber stamp for the powers that be) took the recommendations, including the one which said that the auditing firm should be hired, to the tune of $500,000, to implement the reorganization.  The firm?  Enron’s own favorite:  Arthur Anderson.

    1. Dwyer; it was Ed Thomas.  I think Dennis winning the Auditor’s job was at least a reflection on the thoroughly crappy job Thomas did running for office as it was on Dennis’ city-wide appeal (sic!).  ET’s campaign was hopelessly disorganized and inert.  I agree that it’s odd that Hick is taking him on now, which makes me think: a) Hick sees Dennis as vulnerable (because he doesn’t have the lock on NW Denver he once did, and because he keeps looking like a total boob in the press), and b) Hick is pretty sick of pointless political attacks from someone who can’t be bothered to go to work. 

      And while you’re right that hiring an independent auditing firm comes with its own risks, it seems to me those risks are both meliorable, and not worse than the risks of electing incompetents to manage the city’s finances.

  6.   Thanks for the reminder about Ed Thomas.  That certainly puts things in perspective on how Gallagher got to where he is today. 
      And as bad a choice as it was between these two, let’s not forget what was standing behind Door No. 3…. Debbie Ortega!
      Colorado should follow the lead of Nevada and put “None of the Above” as an option on the ballot.

  7. Debbie Ortega and Ed Thomas…those were the days!  And as for Gallagher, people have been watching for his Last Hurrah for decades…..the way you “miliorate” the effects of having private enterprise “evaluate” and plan a reorganization of the city government is, of course, to have an independent Auditor….I have heard Gallagher’s motivation, his diligence and his managment skills  questioned…but no one doubts his independence. 

    The question which still intrigues me is why would Hickenlooper chose a fight, now, and why Gallagher?  The Mayor  never has taken any issue or politican head on…to my aging recollection.  His style is to appoint a committee, a task force, load it up with competence and move behind the scenes.  Or is that what this was supposed to be?

    And of course, now it is out in the open.  Gallagher is a survivor and you don’t survive in North Denver, unless someone is  watching your back…all the time.  Those Regis grads are everywhere. 



    The wisdom of an elected Auditor that was the brainchild of folks (founding fathers, if you will) a wee bit more removed from the partisanship of Poindexter, has served Denver well for lo these many years–about a century.

    All this speculation about the Hick (actually, after his curious State of the City address, I think we all need to view hizzoner as Mr. Greenjeans!) and Gallagher in a cat fight over  the relevance of an independently elected Auditor as opposed to an unelected CFO sitting on the mayor’s lap (winky-wink!)is as transparent as much of that one can find in the display racks of Victoria’s Secret.

    When a mayor or councilmember(s) gets a hair up their, um (youknowwhat) about an agency or department that doesn’t toe the party line, what happens? Well, a “blue ribbon” task force is appointed or a special council committee is formed to “study” the issue. Now, if you believe a mayoral appointed “blue ribbon” committee is going to come up with anything other than what the mayor wants them to come up with, I’ve got a bridge…yadda, yadda, yadda.

    Denver Auditor’s have been–probably beginning with Tom Currigan–a pain in the sitting mayor’s hindquarters. Most mayors have suffered this vocal and, at times, irritating independent point of view and review with dignity. This mayor, this Mister Greenjeans (a methane plant that will sell enough power to XCEL to light the mayor’s private loo??? Give me an effing break!) has reacted predictably: with indignation at the very thought that there’s someone out there who doesn’t mimic Suzie Sycophant’s (B-G)gooey brown nose pandering to hizzoner’s caprices.

    Ain’t politics great… 

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