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Vengeful local bureaucrat of the day

By Michelle Malkin  •  May 31, 2011 11:38 AM

Loyal readers know how blessed I feel to be a resident of Colorado Springs. After three years, I’ve grown used to the frequent attacks on our fair city for its citizens’ proud and stubborn rejection of bigger and bigger government. Those attacks have increased over the last 12 months — and I’ve called attention to the liberal media/blogosphere’s Colorado Springs Derangement Syndrome (see here and here).

Now comes stunning word from the Colorado Springs Gazette that the now-former city manager reportedly ordered bad publicity as retribution against voters who rejected tax increases. Another government worker has blown the whistle on the vengeful local bureaucrat’s edict:

The city’s public relations department, run by Sue Skiffington-Blumberg, has come under criticism in recent years for allowing — even seemingly promoting — routine attacks on Colorado Springs by the national and international press. After voters rejected a major tax increase in 2009, all major TV networks and most major newspapers made Colorado Springs the country’s symbol of failure. Even the BBC and other international media jumped on board. Reporters told of darkened streets, closed pools and dilapidated parks. Even some locals bought into the despair. Most stories mentioned the refusal of conservative voters to raise their own taxes, failing to report that few other cities raised taxes during the great recession and some made similar cuts.

…In talking to The Gazette, Skiffington-Blumberg was careful not to express disrespect for her former employer, former City Manager Penny Culbreth-Graft. After much probing by us, it became clear that Skiffington-Blumberg was given direct orders, after the defeat of the proposed tax increase, to tell the outside media about the most negative aspects of Colorado Springs. The campaign may have cost our city countless tourists and jobs. The Gazette was unable to reach Culbreth-Graft for comment.

“Our strategic plan was to paint a picture of the dire straits of our city budget. If we could not do so locally, we would do so in the regional and national press — though I’d have preferred that it not play out with Diane Sawyer,” Skiffington-Blumberg said, referring to one of several media giants who blasted Colorado Springs. “I hated it. I grew up here. My family has been in this community since 1892. But when given a task, it is my obligation to get on board. If you give me a task, don’t expect me not to succeed.”

With “friends” like Penny Culbreth-Graft (and go-along cogs like Skiffington-Blumberg, for that matter), who needs enemies? Taxpayers around the country may want to be on alert. If job-sabotaging, back-stabbing public servants like this come knocking on your city’s door for a job, tell ’em to go where they’re more welcome: 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, Washington D.C.

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