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Paying more to hire, retain employees part of Colorado Springs budget session Monday

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- The City Council is discussing whether next year's budget should include a 3% employee pay increase that would make it easier to fill open city positions and prevent current workers from leaving for higher-paying jobs elsewhere.

KRDO

Monday's daylong discussion was the council's first budget session in the process toward finalizing the budget by mid-December.

City of Colorado Springs

City officials said that because of economic conditions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, a salary increase is necessary to keep pay in city jobs competitive with jobs in similar cities elsewhere.

The raise would cost $9 million.

City of Colorado Springs

"We also have employees leaving for jobs in the private sector where they can earn more," said Charae McDaniel, the city's chief financial officer. "And we're having difficulty finding qualified people to fill openings."

City of Colorado Springs

Councilman Bill Murray expressed strong opposition to the proposed pay increase.

City of Colorado Springs

"If people want to go to the private sector, let them go," he said. "They're free to seek better opportunities. Last year with the money we spent on hiring four people in the city attorney's office, we could have hired 29 parks workers."

But Councilmen Richard Skorman and Wayne Williams disagreed.

City of Colorado Springs

"I don't think we should just say let them go after we've spent the time and effort to train them," Skorman said.

Williams said, "The job market has changed and our budget should change along with it. Just saying goodbye to our employees is, I think, a very poor plan."

City of Colorado Springs

Earlier this year, city employees received a one-time pay increase from federal COVID recovery funds.

According to data from city staff, 39 job opening are currently posted and another 262 are in various stages of the recruiting process.

City of Colorado Springs

The police and fire departments also presented their budget needs during Monday's session, which stated at 9 a.m. and ended at 4 p.m.; Police Chief Vince Niski said that his department is changing its recruitment strategy to emphasize the city as a great place to live and work.

The public works and parks and recreation departments presented their budget needs during the afternoon session.

Scott Harrison

Scott is a reporter for KRDO. Learn more about Scott here.

Comments

4 Comments

  1. HMM the city admitting how well they take care of their people.
    “The City Council is discussing whether next year’s budget should include a 3% employee pay increase ”
    “The 2022 Social Security COLA will be 5.9%”
    Congratulations, the city would like to show how valued you all are as employees by offering you a pay increase of less than what the COLA increase will be for 2022.
    In essence, the government is stating that continuing to work for them will only put you further in debt as you will be making less in 2022 than you did in 2021 because of just the COLA increase alone, not to mention inflation.

  2. People are quitting their jobs or being fired rather than be forced to take the dangerous untested non-vaccine that does not work.
    Let’s go Brandon!

  3. Uh, ya you worked 20 years for the city and finally make 18-20 dollars an hour, and now they hire people with no experience and start them at 18 dollars an hour, but you get paid the same. I quit.

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