Countdown to Strong Mayor Election

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In less than one week, Colorado Springs residents will have a new mayor. The runoff election between Richard Skorman and Steve Bach is set for next Tuesday, May 17.

Both candidates are making one final push to get people out to vote.

"We're doing lots of grass roots efforts, phone calls, knocking on doors. Basically this is the time to get people out to vote," said Skorman.

"It's really important to get the word out to everyone to vote, and to answer questions and just try to energize all the voters," said Bach.

For the first time, voters are electing a strong mayor to take the helm of the city, which means there will be some changes for the day-to-day operations at city hall.

"There'll finally be a CEO of the city," said Skorman. "Somebody whose responsible for the day-to-day running of the city, who also is accountable to the public."

"This is going to take an unprecedented level of cooperation between the new city council and the new mayor," said Bach.

The strong mayor will essentially be in charge of all city employees. Right now, about 1,620 people are on the city's payroll, but once the new mayor takes control there might be some staffing changes.

"Everybody's positions are gonna be on the table to understand if they're necessary," said Skorman.

"We will become smarter and leaner, that doesn't necessarily mean any layoffs," said Bach.

Neither candidate will say for sure what positions, if any, will be on the chopping block.

11 News also spoke with the candidates about whether or not they plan to evaluate salaries of city workers, since budget issues continue to be a big concern for the city. According to public records, city employees like the city clerk, city attorney, police chief and fire chief all earn over $100,000 a year.

"Every organization, which is successful, periodically goes through a reassessment of this business plan and how it's delivering the max value for the dollar spent, and we should do the same thing in our city government," said Bach.

"Most of the people that are working for the city right now are police and fire," said Skorman. "We want to make sure that they're well paid because they're out there risking their lives."

After the election season is over, and the strong mayor is in office, there will be at least one new position added to the mix. Both candidates plan to hire a chief of staff right away if they are elected into office.

According to city officials, even though the mayor will oversee all city employees, there will be key players that report directly to the mayor. And some employees, like the city auditor, will still report to city council.