OFF LIMITS

The year of living dangerously: Longtime public servant Bob Crider took a real gamble when he ran for mayor--not only did he give up his slot as city auditor, but he may have abandoned any chance of collecting the full pension he'd be eligible for...if he worked for the city just one more year. The difference would mean at least $7,000 annually over the $1,000 a month that Crider now qualifies for--but the only way he could earn the bump would be if mayor Wellington Webb found him a spot in his new, and allegedly improved, administration.

A month ago, when Crider was considering whether to endorse anyone in the runoff, it certainly looked like there might be room for him. After talking with Webb and meeting with staffers, "I understood that there would be something there," Crider says. "But I don't get excited about that kind of stuff."

Instead, he endorsed Mary DeGroot, who offered him nothing. And come July, that's exactly what he'll have in the way of a job. "I'd be a good employee," Crider says. "I don't think anybody knows the city as well as I do."

That could be the problem.

Who do you trust? At a local hotel last week, the feds auctioned off the contents of the Resolution Trust Corporation's regional office (anyone need a used--very--paper shredder?). But a few of the agency's most notorious assets didn't wait around to see pencil sharpeners peddled off: Whistleblowers Bruce Pederson and Jackie Taylor "reluctantly" took the RTC's buyout offer and left the agency when its Legal Division Office in Denver closed May 26. But Pederson and Taylor aren't quite through with the RTC. This week they're in Washington, D.C., for the first in a series of House Banking Committee hearings on RTC oversight; that series is scheduled to culminate sometime this summer with a hearing on agency treatment of whistleblowers such as Taylor and Pederson. "In exchange for exposing rampant mismanagement in the RTC Legal Division," Pederson wrote in a farewell letter to colleagues at the RTC and FDIC, "in particular its ill-fated reorganization of the PLS Program in 1992, I have been pilloried by a mean-spirited bunch of thugs who masquerade as stewards of the public interest...

"A lot of people ask me if this tortuous path was worth it. Would I `blow the whistle' again? To that inquiry I still answer, `yes.' I have two major reasons. First, my efforts and those of others produced many victories...The second reason for affirming what I have done is simple. I will always attempt to honor the truth by speaking out on its behalf."

Which is more than can be said for other government attorneys. Pederson and Taylor have filed a retaliation suit against the RTC, and at a D.C. Circuit Court hearing on that case in May, a Justice Department attorney stunned the courtroom into silence when she answered "no" to this question: "It's 1974. Does an attorney working at the Justice Department have the right to call Richard Nixon a liar?"

Can't you hear the whistle blowing?

One good turn deserves another: In case you missed it the first time around, the June 19 New Yorker reprinted a letter that originally appeared in the Denver Post. "I applaud your recent editorial, `Don't teach kids to expect money for good morals.' Lakewood High School's plan to pay $50 to teenagers for advance tips on illegal keg parties could set a dangerous precedent. Students should not be bribed to do what is morally proper. When I was a teenager no one paid us to be good. We were good for nothing.

 
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