Steve Bach Freezes Salaries For City Employees

By: KKTV
By: KKTV

There will be a hiring freeze and no raises for Colorado Springs city employees--that was the bombshell dropped during Mayor Steve Bach's first State of the City address.

The city’s first strong mayor talked about his plans to save money in the city’s budget Thursday.

The mayor said it will be hard to make a big impact on the 2012 budget, since it has to be approved by early fall. But he says he wants them to make a sprint.

General city employees are in a hiring, promotion and wage freeze. They are also in what Bach calls a zero base budgeting improvement program.

“Starting with zero, every department will prove to us why you're there, why we are doing this, and how we should do it, how we can do it most efficiently and effectively to deliver the maximum service of every tax dollar spent, and retaining valued employees,” said the mayor.

A record number of people attended the speech Thursday. 750 people were on hand. That’s the highest number in 20 years of the State of the City address. The current record was 450. People were anxious to hear what the strong mayor had to say.

"He's got the ability to motivate and energize. I would like to hear more about our national environment and how we are pushing some of the energy politics forward in the community,” said guest Eric Cefus.

The mayor talked about the benefits of reorganizing into a strong mayor government. This means people report directly to Bach, instead of going through the city manager and nine elected officials, something he believes is a “step in the right direction.”

Since Bach is a strong Mayor, he is not a member of the City Council. For this reason, Thursday he pledged to work closely with the City Council.

He also made a plea to residents, asking the community to step up and take an active role. Bach wants everyone to “step up” to help make Colorado Springs and better place to live and work. One of his main goals is to build community unity and pride, and gain momentum for the city.

“I think the message of everybody collaborating is a very strong and important message and I am looking forward to meeting with him and talking to him about how we can lead as a region environmentally and with energy,” said guest Carol Sturman.

One of the Mayor’s main goals is to make the government more supportive of businesses in the community, including small businesses and emerging companies.

"We are going to strengthen the business climate in Colorado Springs and we are going to keep it there and become the best city in this country in which to do business with city government. We are going to move from cannot to can do,” Bach said. He adds, “We need to find every way we can to be supportive of our business sector. I’m committed to that and we will deliver. I will be back here in a year and hope I will have very specific positive results to tell you about. But we are on our way now and it will be a high priority for me.”

He talked about his plans to improve the business climate.

“What that means is streamlining city processes, being more responsive on requests for permits and approvals, shortening up that time frame, working to make sure our regulations are reasonable. There is sentiment in the community that regulations are unreasonable. We need to make sure fees and charges we have are fair. So that’s a process we will move through quickly. We want to move from appearance of being cannot do to can do,” said Bach.

Bach said some of the challenges the city faces is the 9.6 percent unemployment rate, that leaves 36,000 people out of work. He also said Colorado Springs is losing young professionals and is gaining in population but losing jobs. He wants to turn this situation around and stimulate job creation.

The mayor says he wants to hear ideas from city employees. He is also asking every department to rethink everything they are doing to generate new strategies.

The mayor also wants to bring more parks to Southern Colorado and improve the Memorial Health Systems.

He also plans on strengthening the city’s relationship with the state government. Bach plans on meeting with other mayors across the state to talk about their successes and failures.

The mayor also talked about revenue challenges, rising pension costs, and infrastructure.

Part of his reorganizing plans, the mayor has turned economic development into economic vitality. With this he has four focus points: improving the business climate, building goodwill with primary employers, supporting success of small businesses, and implementing his Spirit of the Springs initiative. That initiative is his plan to unite the community.

“With the city council we will find solutions, we will seize opportunities, and with you we will move forward,” said Bach.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Don't care anymore Location: Camelot on Jul 3, 2011 at 10:36 AM
    It's funny the citizens who cry for budget cuts are the same who also yell to do something about the failing infrastructures,where do you think the money comes from? Well it comes partly from employee salary savings . Oh these are the same city employees you call 911 for,and the you want big budget service . To bad, so sad , That cost alittle more and I'm a little over worked at the moment . Maybe next year.
  • by citizen Location: COS on Jul 2, 2011 at 07:53 AM
    Mayor Bach really needs to pay for his own office remodel out of his over-blown salary. Then he will have credibility.
  • by Epic Fail Location: Purple City on Jul 2, 2011 at 06:24 AM
    Ok KKTV, you probably won't post this but it is ok. I understand. Your headline screams that this Mayor has instituted a pay and hiring freeze. You imply that city workers were getting pay increases annually and that this mayor is out in front doing something. Yet on May 13, 2010, you reported that only 23 city workers have received pay increases since 2008. Care to guess who those 23 city workers were? Did you even bother to check how much this move will save the city, based on the fact that only 23 people received pay increases in the last 3 years? Please don't bother to project the savings as if all the workers would receive pay increases. Did you bother to check which services would be affected by the hiring freeze? Since Colorado Springs Police have 2 members currently in jail, will they not be replaced once convicted? Did you bother with any journalistic endeavors other than a screaming headline that the Mayor imposed a freeze which was basically in effect anyway? You do realize that integrity sells ad space too? Maybe you were to busy investigating the murder of the german shepherd. Epic FAIL.
  • by votedforskorman on Jul 1, 2011 at 09:36 PM
    Wow. Bach spends $27K on a new office. Congratulations those who voted for him. City workers have been on a pay freeze for several years now, tell me something new. And don't forget about the 800 positions that have already been cut. The majority of city workers left are police and fire. Colorado Springs will never change. Retired military who are collecting a pension and free medical off of your tax dollars, yet they won't invest anything into this city. You want to save money? Cut their pensions and medical.
  • by You Voted for HIm on Jul 1, 2011 at 09:20 PM
    How soon before you can recall him? Colorado Springs is going down the drain fast.
  • by Rob Location: Colorado Springs on Jul 1, 2011 at 01:40 PM
    People, please give Mayor Bach some time to figure things out. He's just getting started, and putting a halt to the big "machine" is a great way to gain perspective. He has asked us to come together and work toward the common goal of making our city great again. This bickering on the internet is no way to begin the process. The good people of Colorado Springs need to get off of their heals, and back on their toes!
  • by Oh Yea on Jul 1, 2011 at 09:29 AM
    So punk Bach is flexing a little muscle hugh. I can't figure how this freeze and other stuff this nerd is doing, is fixing anything. He's basically hurting most the people that voted for him. What a nice guy to have stabbed so many in the back.
  • by RMS Location: Colorado Springs on Jul 1, 2011 at 07:58 AM
    I don't know where all of you cheering for the "hiring and salary freeze" for City employees have been through the past several years of budget cycles. The City has been on a death spiral for years. No raises and no new positions and early retirements to bring down the payroll numbers. If you want to eliminate all paid City jobs except for the highly paid managers and assitant managers (oh, and the new mayor) then you better start picking up and disposing of your own trash from parks and public venues and buy a snow plough because the "public" is going to have to pick up the slack.
  • by Q Location: Peyton on Jul 1, 2011 at 07:23 AM
    I have not gotten a raise in four years.....I am just grateful to have a job.
  • by Anonymous on Jul 1, 2011 at 07:23 AM
    ...and though it's not part of the city, or the budget, District-49 would be a good place to start.
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