Countdown to Strong Mayor Election

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.

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  • by D Location: CS on May 12, 2011 at 09:36 AM
    Our vote is for Bach because he's not a politician, he hasn't been throwing mistruths out about the other candidate. We like his platform best on the issues especially small business. He seems to be the right fit for Mayor. 2 votes from our home for Bach!!
  • by Nath Location: Colo Spgs on May 12, 2011 at 09:04 AM
    Some City positions paying $100,000 or more per year?? I don't think public servants should get paid more than people earn in the private sector. I'd like to see the complete list of contributors to both candidates published in the paper. There's a lot of noise being made about "developer's money" going to one candidate, let's see how much union and "other (outside) sources" money is going to the other one.
  • by Colorado Location: C/S on May 12, 2011 at 07:51 AM
    Hummm so Bach single handedly is responsible for the sprawl? Get a clue! I thought developers had to submit a master plan to the City's planning committee, which I'm sure Skorman was involved in when he was on council. I'd say that Builders have done more to create jobs that supported a family in the construction industry than Poor Richard's little college kid's jobs! I want someone that is knowledgeable about more things than running a bookstore.
  • by Local small business man on May 12, 2011 at 07:22 AM
    @ CS, there is no real problem with Skorman. Why would Skorman over tax his own 5 businesses? Bach has already broken the law 3 times I am aware of. 1, he said Skorman was not a business man, 2, he will not disclose his donation sources and 3 has to do with his domestic life, need I say more? What do we call people who sell themselves for money? That is what Bach has done is doing and will do and if he is willing to sell himself out then what will he do to us? I had hoped at a local level we could have some honesty from both candidates but only Skorman has so far been true and honorable. What kind of person would vote for someone who has 3 times lied and or broken the law? Not I.
  • by cs Location: cs on May 12, 2011 at 06:56 AM
    @ Wendal V, The problem with Skorman is that he has been a part of the problem with our city officials for far to long. He supports amnesty city's, regulating business to the point of killing jobs, and at this point it's known that new businesses are leary of setting up in liberal ran communities that have a habit of taxing business's to hard and implementing job killing regulations. Skorman will not change and more businesses will leave our community and the voters will pay the price in the long run, after all our last mayor was a liberal pretending to be conservative, enough is enough......
  • by Wendal V Location: El Paso on May 11, 2011 at 10:13 PM
    Big developer and special interest, not sure I want a developer as our first strong mayor. Wake up people. Did we not learn anything from Aries/Banning Lewis/Whatever it's supposed to be now? Maybe Richard Skormann isn't any better, but his background is with the common folk, the blue collar people who are trying to make a better life and get away from the American dream of debt!
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