River district says Fischer dismissed in wake of Sentinel series
When former Congressman Scott McInnis hired Roland “Rolly” Fischer as his “research assistant,” he got a man who knew his stuff, or seemed to, according to people who know him.
Fischer was hired by the Colorado River Water Conservation District in 1968 as secretary-engineer. He was the district’s first and only employee at that time. As the district grew, so did Fischer’s job, which evolved into the position of general manager, even though he kept the secretary-engineer title until he left the district in 1996, according to district spokesman Chris Treese.
By the time Fischer left the district, it employed 18 people and Fischer was the boss. He is now at the heart of a growing scandal first reported by the Denver Post Monday in which McInnis blames Fischer for plagiarizing sections of water articles the gubernatorial candidate was paid $300,000 to produce in 2005 and 2006. Fischer told the Glenwood Springs Post Independent Tuesday that, “Scott’s responsible for it.”
According to Treese, the board of directors dismissed Fischer for reasons that were not made public. Treese acknowledged, though, that the dismissal followed a series of articles in the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel.
Those articles are not available on the Sentinel’s web site, but in Tuesday’s paper, reporter Charles Ashby characterized the articles thusly:
“Fischer retired in 1996 after The Daily Sentinel published a series of articles showing that the river district hired two companies operated by his wife, Tillie, without going to a competitive bid. Fischer was part owner of those businesses, which handled payroll accounts and general administrative functions.”
Treese said Fischer would have been “absolutely qualified” to assist McInnis in writing water papers. Another employee at the district said, “His knowledge of water is unimpeachable.”
Fischer has not returned two phone calls.
Like this story? Steal it! Feel free to republish it in part or in full, just please give credit to The Colorado Independent and add a link to the original.
Keep in touch
As Colorado lawmakers return to the Capitol on Wednesday to begin crafting education policy and setting spending priorities, they face significant budget challenges, an […]Read More
The 23-year-old motorist who struck and killed Denver Post reporter Colleen O’Connor last summer faces prison time after he pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide-reckless driving, […]Read More