Garcia will take leave for campaign season

Colorado State University-Pueblo President Joe Garcia will take a leave of absence starting next month to run full time as Democrat John Hickenlooper’s lieutenant governor running mate, the college announced Wednesday.

Garcia drew fire from Colorado Republican Party Chairman Dick Wadhams, who called for Garcia to resign from the university or withdraw from the race, saying it would be inappropriate for a state worker to draw a taxpayer-funded paycheck while running for office.

Garcia, who has been president of the Pueblo school since 2006, earns $210,000 a year and a $30,000 housing allowance.

Wadhams accused Garcia and Hickenlooper of trying to “scheme” taxpayers into paying him while campaigning, but CSU spokeswoman Michele McKinney told The Associated Press that Garcia had approached the university’s governing board about how he could run for office without also earning a state paycheck.

She said Garcia had accumulated about 200 hours of administrative leave. His leave will begin Sept. 10, but the board will allow Garcia to use his personal and vacation time to campaign until then.

The president of CSU’s Fort Collins campus, Tony Frank, will fill in as president of the school while Garcia is on leave.


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