Schmuck of the Week

For a good time, call 1-800-Minerals Management Service -- Our shmuck of the week

The Lakewood-based federal agency that forever altered our assumptions about what government bureaucrats do when no one is looking will change its name today from the Minerals Management Service to the Office of Natural Resources Revenue. And good riddance to the scandal-plagued MMS, which was in charge of collecting $10 billion in royalties every year from oil and gas companies.

While the office certainly sounds like a fun place to work, the conduct of a few of its employees -- namely the ones who were buying drugs, accepting gifts from the people they were supposed to be monitoring (and having sex with them) or manipulating government contracts -- wasn't very good for the taxpaying public.

So will the name change reflect actual change? Officials would have you think so. They say they've overhauled the culture of the department and implemented new policies.

But since most of the people who were cited for ethics breaches during the MMS scandals still work for the agency or have retired and are now receiving pensions (and none were charged with crimes), only time -- and dried up drug connections -- will tell.

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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes