Jan 19, 2012 12:36 AM by John Romero
New numbers that list city employee salaries are out for the public's eyes to see. This year city employees are slated to make about $131,000,000. It may sound high but in fact, it's a pretty big decrease. "The decrease was about $14,000,000 from 2009 compared to 2012. Or about 10% of our salary budget." explains Colorado Springs City Councilman Bernie Herpin.
The biggest reason for the decline in salaries came from employee downsizing. "I would say it's just the loss of employees is the main part of that." explains Interim Human Resources Manager for the city Lori Smith.
Since 2009, 245 employee positions have been eliminated in the city. But it wasn't just from the bottom. "We've seen a decrease in the number of highly paid employees." says Herpin, "Those making $100,000 or more went from 64 to 52 in that same time frame (2009-2012)."
As part of the salary slashing, departments like Parks and Recreation were virtually decimated and combined with other offices. While city council has said it wasn't easy, they were able to avoid huge cuts for some employees by way of other cost cutting moves. "Turning off the street lights saved us about $21,000,000 which we used to hire 16 police officers coming out of the police academy in 2009, which would not have been hired." explains Herpin.
And while the city is still looking to cut costs, many services such as street lights and trash cans in parks have been restored because of the salary cuts. It's a balancing act that will go on for the foreseeable future. "Yeah, we've lost a little bit in providing services. But we've become leaner and more efficient." says Herpin, "I think that's the silver cloud to be had by all of this economic downturn, we've show that we can still pretty much provide the services with fewer people."
It's important to note that the city did not include the salaries for Colorado Springs Utilities employees, Memorial Hospital employees, elected officials, hourly, temporary or seasonal employees, outside agency temps or private contractors.
CLICK HERE to see the list for yourself.