Daily commutes are a grind, especially in lousy weather. Most of us, though, still grit our teeth, grab a jacket and get behind the wheel. State Treasurer Walker Stapleton? He hits the snooze button.
Earlier this year, Stapleton, who hopes to become the Republican nominee for governor, told a local conservative group that his commute from Greenwood Village to the State Capitol is so bad when it’s raining or snowing that he doesn’t bother getting out of bed.
I live in, uh, south of the city and my commute used to be a reliable fifteen minutes. Now it’s a reliable 45 minutes. And if there’s rain or snow, I might as well stay in bed for an extra hour or hang out at home, because I’m not going to get to work.
According to Google Maps, Stapleton’s commute from his house in the ritzy suburb he was unwilling to name, is about 13 miles. His 45-minute estimate puts him just a minute under the average Denver metro commute according to an October 2017 study conducted by staffing firm Robert Half. The company surveyed 2700 workers, though it is unknown whether they factored in those who decide to sleep in rather than face raindrops.
Stapleton’s disinclination for damp driving may explain accusations of absenteeism that have dogged him throughout the years. A 2014 campaign ad noted a pattern of late arrivals and frequent absences based on his Capitol key card records.
Official key-card records from his Denver office confirm Stapleton only bothers showing up at his office around 10 days a month, often, skipping the office for weeks at a time, or only showing up after 3 p.m.
That claim was denied by his campaign manager, who said Stapleton often forgets his key card and therefore is forced to use the public entrance where records aren’t kept.
Official attendance records again also caused trouble for the Treasurer when it came to his favorite topic: Public Employee Retirement Association meetings. Meeting minutes from 2012 – 2014 showed Stapleton showing up for only eight of 21 meetings.
Is it possible that Stapleton’s point is more about our state’s traffic congestion and less about his fear of getting wet? Of course. But here’s the thing- as a wealthy candidate trying to connect with a room of blue-collar Tea Party activists, an awkward line about staying in bed rather than face a long drive to work probably isn’t the best approach, even if your family hasn’t had an airport named after it.
Treasurer Stapleton’s hypothetical decision to stay home is likely made easier by the fact that he probably still has his other job, consulting for a hefty $600/hour for his former company, SonomaWest Holdings. At least, that what he was paid back in 2011, before his family’s other company, Stapleton Acquisitions Company, took Sonoma West private and with it the disclosures of his compensation.
Hey it’s nice work if you can inherit it.