As Colorado Senate Minority Leader Josh Penry hypocritically attacked the state government and Governor Bill Ritter during Colorado's ongoing budget crisis, ProgressNow Colorado, the state's largest online progressive advocacy organization demanded Wednesday that Penry come clean about immediate family members both recently hired and currently employed by Mesa State College.
"It is ridiculous beyond belief that 'Pandering' Josh Penry misrepresents fiscal reality and vital state services for political gain, while his own family pockets state funds each payday," said ProgressNow Colorado Founder Michael Huttner.
The Denver Post recently reported that despite Penry's attacks on Governor Ritter's so-called "hiring spree," most of the growth in state employment can be traced to simple population growth, increases mandated by the voter's passage of Referendum C in 2005, and legislation passed by the General Assembly--including legislation sponsored by Sen. Penry. (Denver Post, "Analysis suggests increased Colorado state jobs may be overstated," 10/11/2009)
Last week, the Grand Junction Sentinel reported that state-funded Mesa State College "has a history of hiring former political workers and those connected to them," including Kristi Pollard, the recently-hired 'Interim Director of Development' at Mesa State and Sen. Josh Penry's sister. Jamie Penry, Sen. Penry's wife, is also a former Mesa State employee according to the Sentinel. (Grand Junction Sentinel, "Mesa State hires as campus grows, enrollment soars," 10/25/2009)
"That Penry would make these lazy, irresponsible accusations, while his own family snaps up the very same high-paying state jobs Penry complains the loudest about, is just mind-boggling and laughable," said Huttner. "Penry at the very least owes the public a good explanation. I think he owes the public, and thousands of hard working Colorado civil servants he's insulted, an apology as well."
"Finally," concluded Huttner, "we call on Penry to immediately disclose whether he personally has sought employment at Mesa State College while serving in the Colorado General Assembly, or at any time discussed the hiring of his family members with Mesa State officials."