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Salary for CEO of Colorado Springs Utilities to be discussed

By: monica mendoza monica.mendoza@gazette.com
February 19, 2014 Updated: February 19, 2014 at 5:29 am
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The salary of the top executive at Colorado Springs Utilities will be the topic of a closed-door meeting Wednesday.

The City Council, in its role as the Utilities board of directors, will hear the results of an executive compensation study that includes the pay of Utilities CEO Jerry Forte, whose annual base salary is $276,750.

According to the Nov. 19 minutes of the Utilities personnel committee, the study by Milliman, a salary and benefits data firm, found that the CEO's base salary is 38 percent - or $105,165 - below market median.

The executive compensation study evaluated the CEO position, six officer positions, 12 general manager positions and the city auditor's position.

The CEO is the board's only Utilities appointee, said Dave Grossman, a spokesman for Utilities.

"Based on discussions at recent board personnel committee meetings, the committee is focused on the CEO's compensation at this point," he said.

The compensation study says that nationally, the utilities sector provides cash incentives to executives, with a large majority providing performance-based incentives at the senior management and executive levels. Colorado Springs Utilities does not offer performance-based incentives for its executives, which results in a misalignment with the market, the study says.

But Forte has received bonuses for high marks on his annual performance plan. In 2012, Forte received an annual bonus of about $31,550 and a long-term award of about $30,165 on top of his annual base salary, which has not changed since 2007.

The City Council is expected to discuss the results of the study and make salary recommendations at its Feb. 24 council work session, Councilwoman Jan Martin said.

Martin, who is a member of the Utilities personnel committee, declined to reveal the compensation study results or possible recommendations on Forte's salary until the entire council had time to review the data.

Colorado Springs Utilities has a $1.15 billion annual budget. In 2013, Utilities conducted a compensation study of its 1,800 employees. The result was a 4 percent raise for employees who make less than the market average. Salaries and benefits for Utilities employees make up about 16 percent of the total budget.

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