Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Associate Naysayer of the Month - Jerry Wartgow

by Phil Goodstein

Jerry Wartgow cannot keep a job. Or so it seems. During past decades, whenever a part of the area’s educational system has been in chaos, he has taken charge. Among other posts, he has been the president of the Colorado Community College System, executive director of the Auraria Higher Education Center, superintendent of Denver Public Schools, and dean of the University of Denver College of Education. He has quickly moved on from each of the posts. The institutions have been in no better shape after he left them than before he took command.

Given this, Wartgow is the ideal man to oversee a most dysfunctional part of the University of Colorado (CU), its joint Denver campus and Health Sciences Center. The latter has particularly been in disarray over the past decade. Instead of emphasizing its primary purposes -delivering health care and training medical professionals - it has been part of the megalomania of Philip Anschutz. In particular, it and its related University of Colorado Hospital abandoned a central location for the new Anschutz campus at Fitzsimons. Problems there have been so glaring that they have been provided numerous exposes for the Denver Post, a paper that goes out of its way to celebrate the establishment and ignore questionable developments in the community. Amidst all this, rather than seeing that the Health Sciences Center needs special handling and leadership, the CU board of regents combined it with the Auraria-bascd University of Colorado-Denver. By having Wartgow, a non-physician, in charge, the Health Sciences Center will not have probing leadership questioning the policies that have led to its current morass. Still, given Wartgow’s past record, he will not be its leader for too long, passing on the problems to others. For being a convenient stopgap, he is an associate Naysayer of the Month.

Phil Goodstein will discuss Denver history and politics at the Colfax Tattered Cover on Tuesday, July 13, 7:30 PM


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