The Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District Chief is at it again. Subhas Shah's "you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours" style of government has reared its head again. This time the District's new P.R. person Dennis Domrzalski penned a glorious puff piece on Shah for the Accent Albuquerque Magazine without telling them that he worked for Shah. I know and have always liked Dennis so this was a surprise to me when someone gave me a copy of the story yesterday. Dennis has been a longtime "grizzled" journalist in the region. He use to give me hell on a regular basis when I was Mayor and he worked for the Tribune and Alibi newspapers.
I actually had a conversation with Dennis a couple of months ago when he brought up the issue of him working for the District. I told him it would be a mistake as long as the current management was there just because of this kind of thing. I related to him that when I was General Manager of the District in 1988-89 that I had discovered Shah doing some things I thought were unethical. At one point he had propositioned a car dealer that he would purchase district vehicles from them if they would buy his brothers car and give him a good deal on a new one. I went to the board with this and I was fired along with the District's attorney for bringing this up. We even had a signed confession from Shah which I think still resides in my filing cabinet. I always figured Shah had done a lot of favors for those board members who irrigated and they couldn't afford to get rid of him or he would spill the beans. He is a survivor. The attorney and I sued for breach of our contracts and were paid a settlement by the Board.
Dennis had a bit of a lapse on this one, but knowing how things work at the district I wouldn't be surprised if he was required to do it in order to get his job.
This important water agency will never achieve its potential if it doesn't acquire new management and a decent ethics policy.