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Some city workers got more work, money amid cutbacks

By: DANIEL CHACÓN
May 12, 2010
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photo - The salary increases to a select group of Colorado Springs city employees are allowed under city policy, but they come at a time when the city is turning off about a third of its street lights and removing trash cans from parks to help balance the budget. Photo by JERILEE BENNETT, THE GAZETTE FILE
The salary increases to a select group of Colorado Springs city employees are allowed under city policy, but they come at a time when the city is turning off about a third of its street lights and removing trash cans from parks to help balance the budget. Photo by JERILEE BENNETT, THE GAZETTE FILE 

Colorado Springs city employees say they’ve been doing more work for the same amount of money since government officials started shedding hundreds of jobs to cut costs.

But a select group of city workers who have been promoted to higher positions of greater responsibility has received salary increases of up to five figures in the past two years, according to documents obtained under an open-records request.

The pay raises range from $719 to $17,837.

Nick Kittle, who now oversees four departments, received the biggest increase.

Kittle joined the city in 2004 as a senior analyst earning $53,382 a year.

Now he’s making $110,333.

Kittle, who received yearly pay raises since 2004, was recently brought into the City Manager’s Office as part of a reorganization. His salary at the time was $92,496.

Kittle received a $17,837 bump in April after he started to oversee the fleet, engineering, streets and transit departments.

He’s among 15 city employees who got salary increases this year; 23 total have received raises since September 2008, city documents show. Most of the raises are 9.9 percent and 10 percent.

The pay raises, however, are temporary and only for employees who have taken on “higher level work” such as overseeing a department, Ann Crossey, the city’s human resources director, said Wednesday.

“If the work that you’re assigned is within the scope of your job description, then your pay won’t change,” she said.

“If the scope of your work and the task assigned are those that are normally done by a higher level position, then we will evaluate it to determine if there should either be special assignment pay or acting pay if you’re sitting in for somebody,” she said.

The raises are allowed under city policy, but they come at a time when the city is turning off streetlights and removing trash cans from parks to help balance the budget.

Crossey said the temporary raises should be seen in a positive light because the city is paying those employees less than the people who used to hold those jobs. Employees will go back to their regular pay after their temporary assignments are up, she said.

“We reduced a lot of high-level positions, and we’re still doing the work that has to be done for a lower cost,” she said.

City spokeswoman Sue Skiffington-Blumberg said city employees who haven’t received raises are grateful to have jobs.

“The teamwork at the city has always been a very strong component of working in municipal government, and people are continuing to figure out how to pull together,” she said.


Call the writer at 476-1623

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