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Polling for City Council Pay

The dreaded pollster call is a common, unwelcomed interruption for those of us who still have landlines. Earlier this month when the phone rang, one particular phone poll was too inviting to refuse. A poll asking for my opinion about the Colorado Springs City Council? Sure! What an intriguing topic!

What were the questions on the pollster’s list?

Do you approve or disapprove of the job City Council is doing? What work does City Council do? Next, the pollster shared the long list of Council job duties. He added that Council members get paid $6,250 per year for the part-time job.

The pollster then asked how much City Council members should get paid, and how many hours they should work. He also made the suggestion that Council members should receive half the amount of the Mayor’s salary. That would equate to just over $50,000 per year.

When I asked, the pollster politely refused to disclose who was paying for the poll, as that information may sway responses.

We all know that live polls are pretty pricey. One City Council member recently educated citizens about polls. We captured that here.

Someone certainly went to a lot of trouble to measure and shape public opinion and that made us curious. At SpringsTaxpayers.com, we filed a Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) request with the City of Colorado Springs, and the search turned up 1 email about the topic (see below.) We’re placing bets that a pay raise for City Council is headed to the ballot soon.

SpringsTaxpayers.com has the opinion that people should be paid for the work they do. Council Members, if you want to ask for a pay raise, go for it! If the citizens are happy with the work you do, you will likely get the raise. The thought of this poll being used as “leverage” leaves us uneasy, though. Colorado Springs citizens are smart enough to figure out how they want to vote. No manipulation or strategists needed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

1 Email Returned from our CORA Request:

From: Jake Eichengreen

To: Gaebler, Jill

Subject: Utilities, Council Pay Update

Date: Tuesday, January 23, 2018 7:13:09 PM

Hi Jill!

Appreciated your question at the Food Rescue talk just now! Just wanted to share two quick updates

on the council pay project and the Utilities partnership –

Utilities– we’ve been in touch several times now, at varying levels of the organization and have no

movement. Lance and I sat with some of their talent-recruitment

folks and had what we thought

was a productive, clarifying conversation. Venkat was also in touch with Jerry directly just after the

New Year and had an optimistic report on their conversation. We’re still getting no movement from

them. At this point, we all

still feel strongly that a partnership would yield tremendous value to

Utilities and to the community. That said, and considering the phenomenally slow pace of the

conversation, we’re going to be maintaining our focus on some of the other really cool opportunities

that have opened for us in town. We will keep engaging with Utilities in the hopes of turning the

corner – and I’m happy to engage more deeply if you have ideas – but just wanted to share where

things are.

Council Pay – we have the poll drafted and funded, pending us raising $1K from our “generational

peers” to secure a 4:1 match that Phil Lane offered. David Lord

suggested that we raise an additional

$5K to hire a strategist to do a brief analysis of the results and how to leverage them into a

successful campaign, which we thought was a great idea and are currently working on. I would love

to share the poll draft with

you (once we get the current round of edits finalized) for your thoughts.

We thought about Andy and Lauren from the D11 campaign as potential strategists – thoughts on

that as well?

All my best,

Jake

Jacob Eichengreen

Executive Director

719.314.9622

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