Best Political Appointment -- State - 2004
Russell George, Colorado Department of Natural Resources
How does a state agency save money? If it's the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, you hire an outside consulting firm, order your employees to do the firm's work in finding ways to cut costs, and then give the firm a share of both the money saved and new money raised -- from fees imposed on Coloradans using this state's natural resources. That was the plan, anyway, under former director Greg Walcher, who left the department early this year with an eye to running for Congress (and no doubt running from critics). In his place, Governor Owens came up with another kind of political animal altogether: former legislator Russell George, whose background as head of the Division of Wildlife, work as an attorney in Rifle, and record as speaker of the House in the General Assembly makes him an ideal choice to forge coalitions to clean up the environment. And that's just the environment inside the Department of Natural Resources. If he can fix that, just imagine what he can do for the great outdoors.