The Message

Role Reversal

This juxtaposition frosts Bourgeron, as does just about everything else in Woodward's report and those that succeeded it. She says the real reason she was appointed by Webb as deputy manager was because the job had been vacant since her predecessor, Diane Koller, left the year before, and the airport was "in crisis. There'd been the train breakdown, the blizzard, and after they moved Bruce to manager of aviation, he discovered big problems with communications and marketing. Since they needed help right away, they appointed me so I could immediately fill the gap" instead of going through the drawn-out Career Service hiring process.

As for the sentence about substituting experience for education in the deputy manager advertisement, Bourgeron argues that it came about after considerable debate among members of the Career Service Board. Moreover, the wording switch merely "allowed me to get into the competition," she says. "Everything else was based on my ability to pass a written test and to submit and be graded on a review process and testing process conducted by Career Service over a five-month period . . .. Your mother couldn't help you through the process."

Some of the exams were entirely objective, with others being fairly subjective -- but when the totals were combined, Bourgeron earned the top score of any applicant. Nonetheless, the Career Service Board determined in June that Yearby shouldn't have waived the education requirement in Bourgeron's case and asked Baumgartner to remove her as deputy manager. After he did so, Woodward's July 18 report charged him with allowing Bourgeron to hang onto perks that came along with the higher position, including a car and a security badge. Shortly thereafter, Baumgartner's resignation was accepted by incoming Mayor John Hickenlooper; Yearby resigned June 10.

Neither of these moves appears to have been caused by the Bourgeron matter, but the controversy certainly hasn't done those involved any good. "Imagine having your reputation questioned, and not only in the local media. It was in USA Today, too," Bourgeron says. "That has a tremendous impact on my future." Regarding her achievements, she asks, "Did you see any of them covered? Of course not. It was all how 'Amy Bourgeron was deemed unqualified' and that I 'manipulated the system.'"

Woodward rejects this criticism of her coverage, which she sees as entirely slant-free. "We never give our opinion. That's not appropriate. We give the viewers the best information we can and then let them decide." She says this mission was made more difficult because Bourgeron declined all interview requests made after the broadcast of the April piece, in which she appeared. So did Baumgartner, who Woodward finally pinned down on July 11 after staking out his house.

"Amy Bourgeron could certainly have straightened out a lot of this just by talking to us," she allows. "We asked her at least ten times, and the same with Bruce Baumgartner. She was the director of marketing, which is the mouthpiece, and he was the manager of aviation. It's their duty, their job, to help us with information when we're doing a story, and they knew about the story that ran on July 18 for at least three weeks."

Bourgeron justifies her decision not to speak with Woodward again by sharing a transcript of their April interview, in which the reporter seems to think there are two deputy manager jobs rather than one. ("I was just trying to clarify things," Woodward says.) Bourgeron sometimes wonders if Woodward has any personal enmity toward her, yet the only evidence she can dredge up is an anecdote about receiving an autographed photo of the reporter as a gag gift while at Public Works in the early '90s, only to learn from the friend who gave it to her that Woodward wanted it back. Woodward recalls the incident, and says she requested the photo's return because the person in question had told her it would be given to someone other than Bourgeron -- "although if she'd said it was for Amy, I would have signed it, too.... She and I have a professional relationship, just like I have with Andrew Hudson and C.L. Harmer and any of these people involved with government. You can't make things personal. That's not your job."

Whether any of these tales will ever be spun in court is unclear, particularly given that the alleged errors cited in attorney Mishkin's press release may strike some as debatable. For example, Mishkin contends that on July 18, Woodward said Bourgeron had "exactly" the same job duties after being officially demoted as she had previously, but the version of the story on www.9news.com draws parallels without making this specific claim. That leaves disputes over tone and omission that a jury might have difficulty grasping.

Still, Bourgeron's time in the spotlight isn't over. Her suit against the city is sure to be covered by members of the press, and she thinks the lion's share will do so responsibly: "The majority of reporters I've worked with in the past nineteen years come in looking for balance."

As proof, she mentions "an interesting call I got from a very well-respected investigative reporter. News of Paula's report began circulating even before it aired, and he said, 'Someone's been shopping this story for over a year.' I said, 'Why didn't you do it?' And he said, 'Because there's nothing there.'"

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