It would be fair to wonder what Mayor Steve Bach has been doing in his first 100 days in office. (Besides looking for ways to get rid of Memorial Health System, that is.)
The mayor is, ah, a private man. After all, Bach only lists an average of one to three "public" appointments on his weekly calendar, and he's made no secret of his habit of dodging the Sunshine Laws and conducting business behind closed doors.
With all the secrecy, it's hard for outsiders to know what the mayor might have up his sleeve. Thankfully, he's provided the public with his version of his accomplishments thus far.
Some might argue, of course, that it's a bit biased of the mayor to essentially grade his own performance. But if your cynicism can bear it, here's the mayor, according to the city communication office he employs:
Mayor Bach’s First 100 Days Report
When Steve Bach was sworn in on June 7, 2011, he laid out his major priorities as the City’s first strong mayor. September 14 marks Mayor Bach’s 100th day in office and he is taking this opportunity to update citizens on progress towards his three main objectives.
1. Transform City government so that it works for everyone, without increasing taxes.
2. Create stable, good paying jobs by getting the economy going again and keeping it vibrant.
3. Build alliances with the State and other Front Range communities to protect our interests.
Transform City government
Mayor Bach is leading the change to a longer term, more strategic view of the budget and instilling a priorities-based budget plan. Instead of just looking at the next year’s forecast in developing the annual budget, the Mayor is using long term budget forecasts from a variety of sources that look out at least five years. Working with City staff, the Mayor has achieved approximately $3 plus million in cost savings across all City departments for the 2012 budget. He has also directed staff to complete a new salary and wage study, including comparison of City civilian positions to similar ones in local, larger private sector companies.
The Mayor was also able to work within the 2011 budget to fund the reseeding and maintenance of 275 acres of neighborhood parks through private sector outsourcing. In addition, he increased the annual allocation of water for parks to reduce future replacement costs from loss of grass due to reduced watering in the past. Additionally, during the Mayor’s first one hundred days, the City has seen approximately $1.7 million in City road improvements, improvement work that was also outsourced to private contractors.
The Mayor filled several key positions in his first months on the job, including the transitional Chief of Staff, as well as Chief Communications Officer, Economic Vitality Specialist, and City Attorney. Communications and Economic Vitality are now direct reports to the Mayor, reflecting the importance he puts on those two functions to help achieve the City’s goals. Parks, Planning and Public Works were consolidated under one director and with the retirement of the City Clerk, the Mayor is evaluating the City Clerk department to determine the best approach for optimization of that function.
The existing workforce is being reshaped to better meet citizens’ needs without growing the overall headcount. Through retirements and attrition, City staff is flatter, allowing a quicker delivery of services to citizens at all levels The Mayor held a series of City employee roundtable discussions to start the dialog brings the best ideas forward and created a new ombudsman position to analyze those ideas and put the ones that will achieve efficiencies and cost-savings into action.
Mayor Bach is working to engage citizens in dialog and to encourage active participation throughout the community. His new Spirit of the Springs program will officially launch on Friday, September 16, on the south lawn of the Pioneers Museum at 4:00 p.m.. The Mayor has charged the Spirit of the Springs program with finding ways to connect and celebrate community, nurture future public service leadership, and to tap into the wisdom, skills and passion of our retired community.
Mayor Bach has been communicating his priorities to the public through live radio broadcasts, and TV and print interviews and at events as an invited speaker. He has met with numerous local groups and citizens in his first few months to get their feedback, and listen to their concerns and ideas. Citizen Solution Teams are being planned to assess topics such as Parks and Open Space, Transit, Streetscapes and Employee Benefits and Pensions. Quarterly public town hall meetings will start in the first quarter of 2012.
In his first one hundred days, Mayor Bach met with the top commanders at our bases in Colorado Springs, building rapport and is personally working on certain matters to help at two of the bases. Mrs. Bach in fact, is initiating a program to help families at Fort Carson, the base where the Mayor served over forty years ago.
Creating the best climate for businesses is a key focus for Mayor Bach. Elevating Economic Vitality to a direct report reflects that priority. The Mayor is working to encourage both small business and large primary employers success, retention and growth in Colorado Springs. He has met with the Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Corporation to discuss how the City can facilitate a strong business climate and support job creation locally. The Mayor is also working with the Chamber’s Regional Leaders Trip group to encourage Colorado Springs’ businesses to access the global market. Mayor Bach has personally met with many of the CEOs of existing primary employers to thank them for being here and asking how the City can support their continued success. He worked with an existing primary employer, who had considered moving several hundred jobs out of the City, to encourage this employer to retain those jobs in Colorado Springs. He is also working with the state and county in discussions with an out-of-state primary employer considering expansion in Colorado Springs, potentially bringing 250+ quality jobs.
A vibrant community is an important piece of economic vitality. To that end, the Mayor personally consulted with a diverse group of Colorado Springs’ professionals about how to ensure our City is inclusive and welcoming to young professionals and a creative workforce. He also personally worked with the Chamber of Commerce and the arts community on an arts corridor as another way to encourage young professionals to make their career and home in Colorado Springs. The Mayor has started scheduling meetings with K-12 and higher education leaders who are helping to grow that next generation of young professionals and community leaders.
STATE AND OTHER FRONT RANGE COMMUNITIES ALLIANCES
Shortly after being sworn in, the Mayor requested and had a meeting with Governor Hickenlooper. With the aid of the Governor, the Mayor was able to get CDOT approval to post new United States Olympic Committee signage at the northern and southern I-25 entrances to our city. Mayor Bach is scheduling meetings with mayors along the Front Range and is scheduled to attend the Denver Metro Mayor’s Caucus this October. He attended the U.S. Conference of Mayors to gain “best practice” insights from other successful cities and to initiate dialog with mayors across the country. Mayor Bach met with the El Paso County Commissioners to discuss shared concerns. He supports bringing back the USA Pro Cycling Challenge to Colorado Springs next year, an event that brought international and national attention to our city and state. He will continue to encourage the hosting of events such as the bike race and the U.S. Women’s Open that bring an economic boost and international recognition to the City. The Mayor also increased the ability of the Pikes Peak Highway and Pikes Peak Hill Climb Association to grow racing in this community by directing early completion of the paving project.