Owens Builds Secret Fort, Won’t Tell Anybody Where It Is


As The Associated Press  reports:

Colorado has an elaborate plan to ensure state government will function in natural disaster or terror attack. There’s just one problem – someone forgot to tell the lawmakers.

The clandestine blueprint, kept in a notebook carried by a state patrol trooper at the Capitol, includes secret locations to house legislative leaders and a chain of command if the governor and lieutenant governor were incapacitated. But lawmakers – including some who could potentially run the state if other top leaders were injured or killed – say they’re puzzled about how it will work if no one knows where to go or what to do.

“We’re so essential they forgot to tell us,” said Senate President Joan Fitz-Gerald, a Democrat, who is third in line if the governor and lieutenant governor are incapacitated.

The plan, dubbed Continuity of Government, was developed with funds from the Homeland Security Department in 2003. It covers any disruption or attack that could shut down the Capitol or state agencies, ranging from a blizzard to total destruction.

It includes two secret places where lawmakers could meet, as well as an emergency command center to house the governor and legislative leaders, said Barbara Kirkmeyer, who heads the Division of Local Government, which works closely with local governments.

Another secret location, code-named e-FOR3T, was set up with cots, a kitchen and conference rooms for agencies and lawmakers, as well as a computer space to back up the state’s essential information. It costs the state about $1.75 million per year.

The Republican administration of Gov. Bill Owens, which developed the plan with the help of a consultant, left no transition memo about it when it handed over power to Gov. Bill Ritter, a Democrat, in January, said Susan Kirkpatrick, executive director of the Department of Local Affairs…

Wow.

But wait…that’s not the best part of the story. This is:

Mike Beasley, a former aide to Owens, said the plan was put together with help from a consultant after Owens’ office realized it had a problem during an emergency drill in 2003. Owens was angry he couldn’t locate some members of his Cabinet, Beasley said. It was up to legislators to put together their own plan, Beasley said.

Hell of a plan, there, fellas. Let’s all create our own continuity of government proposals and see which one works best in case of emergency.