While Good says she wasn't surprised that Clem wasn't moved to the health department, she adds, "I didn't know that it wasn't his choice until later." According to Tjach, though, DHH put a lot of political pressure on the state health department to get rid of Clem. "I left at the end of 1993 because the council had become dysfunctional under the health department," he says. "It was no longer independent, and DHH has a lot more pull with the health department than it did with Lance."

Today Clem is still waiting for Romer to find him another job. "We're working on it real hard," says Cindy Parmenter, the governor's press secretary. "It's ongoing."

Even if he were asked, Clem says, he wouldn't return to the AIDS council. But apparently his complaints have produced some results. Project Angel Heart was one of the small agencies prohibited from joining the Denver consortium in the first few years, according to executive director Charles Robbins. But recently the rules changed. "We were allowed to join two months ago--the first nonfunded agency allowed," says Robbins, whose group delivers hot meals to housebound people with the AIDS virus. "And we just received our first Ryan White funding. I think Lance woke everybody up." That includes the health department. Nolan says her department plans to review the council's funding policies, including any potential conflicts of interest. Such a review is necessary in part because Denver is getting so much more funding through Title I, she says, and "we will need to rebalance the distribution of Title II money." Nolan says she knows of no impending GAO review.

And for all his talking, even Clem admits that he was surprised by Senator Brown's request. He only learned of the congressional investigation two weeks ago, when Good mentioned it at a planning committee meeting of the mayor's council.

According to Ric Games, a committee member who supports Clem, Good seemed agitated. "She said that she would be flying to Washington to present a brief to Senator Brown," Games says. "She said, `We may not be able to get him off our backs, but maybe we can neutralize him.'"

Good claims Games misinterpreted her. "For one thing," she says. "I never said anything about the senator being on `our backs.' I don't think the senator is an advocate of AIDS services, but what I said was that perhaps we could neutralize him as an opponent when Ryan White reauthorization comes up in 1995. I plan to ask him nicely not to oppose reauthorization."

Senator Brown's office did not return repeated telephone calls. But Roy Hogberg, who will be part of the GAO team coming to Denver, says, "We have been asked to look at the formula used to disburse Ryan White funding to see if it is equitable and according to the guidelines."

There's been a push in Congress to consider the reauthorization of the $500 million annual program this summer rather than wait until 1995, Hogberg adds. And although the GAO review of the Ryan White program may expand to a national level, "right now we're going to look at Denver and Colorado, because that's where the request came from.

"I'm sure that part of Senator Brown's request also has to do with whether Colorado is getting its fair share," Hogberg continues. The review "will be broader than any specific allegations, but it will be important for us to look at those, too."
And if they do, Clem plans to do more talking.
"If what's going on in Denver is going on in the rest of the country," Clem says, "Congress shouldn't reauthorize it. It needs to be rethought.

« Previous Page
My Voice Nation Help