Photo Credit: The Daily Hatch
A reader recently contacted us with a concern: He had contacted his City Councilman and instead of hearing back from his elected public servant, he received a response from a “Public Communication Specialist.” A Public Communication Specialist is a real job in the City of Colorado Springs, believe it or not. In the job description, the Public Communication Specialist, “participates in shaping public opinion and public perception.”
Funny. We thought that a Public Communication Specialist might communicate with the public transparently, not shape public opinion and perception. Good grief!
So, we wondered: What other jobs are staffed to serve City Council, and how much is it costing taxpayers?
Over the past few months, your tax dollars have funded $465,000 in office remodeling for council members and staff. How much more of your money is being spent to fund staff positions like “Public Communication Specialist?”
We pursued the answer to that question through a Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) request. There are 8 full-time staff members employed to assist the elected Council members: a City Council Administrator, an Analyst II, two Senior Office Specialists, a Staff Assistant, a Deputy City Council Administrator, a Public Communication Specialist II, and an Administrative Technician. Their salaries total $533,510.
Did we mention that these salaries are likely to increase, as Mayor Suthers is currently pursuing a pay raise for all city employees?
Job Title Salary Classification
City Council Administrator $113,942 Management
Analyst II $76,825 Non-Management
Senior Office Specialist $45,444 Non-Management
Senior Office Specialist $42,900 Non-Management
Staff Assistant $56,000 Non-Management
Dep City Council Administrator $88,400 Non-Management
Public Communication Spec II $57,999 Non-Management
Administrative Technician $52,000 Non-Management
Additionally, these City employees receive a plethora of benefits. Taxpayers pitch in up to $6,936 per year per individual or $18,384 per year per family, for medical insurance. Taxpayer contribution toward dental benefits is $420 per year per individual, or $540 per year per family. How does this compare to what your employer provides?
Have you ever laid eyes on the Colorado Springs City Employee benefits handbook? We received it as part of the CORA we filed.
They even have a plan for employee pet insurance (page 31 at the link above,) and reduced Disney World ticket prices from ticketsatwork.com (page 32 at the link above.) Additionally, taxpayers pay for staff for a City Employee Medical Clinic and a City Employee Pharmacy. Sounds pretty fancy.
Colorado Springs City government has gotten way too big and too expensive. The Mayor never cuts expenses from year to year —there is just more and more spending. Contact Mayor Suthers and City Council and ask them to rein in the spending and tighten their belts. At this point, the City is a monster that is only getting fatter off of our tax dollars.
Mayor John Suthers Jsuthers@springsgov.com
Tom Strand Tom.firstname.lastname@example.org
Bill Murray Bill.email@example.com
Yolanda Avila Yolanda.Avila@coloradosprings.gov
Richard Skorman Richard.Skorman@coloradosprings.gov
Mike O’Malley Mike.OMalley@coloradosprings.gov
Dave Donelson Dave.Donelson@coloradosprings.gov
Nancy Henjum Nancy.Henjum@coloradosprings.gov
Randy Helms Randy.Helms@coloradosprings.gov