Columns » Ranger Rich

Dissecting the city's salaries

Ranger Rich



By now, dozens of you have likely read the incredible story about our city workers' salaries that appeared in the Gazette (proud motto: "Giving You Chapter and Verse. Specifically, Chapter 11").

The story leads to an online list of the 2,370 village workers, along with their job titles and pay. The list is noteworthy in many ways. For example, the city has apparently come up with 14 different ways to say "janitor" and about 30 for "secretary."

But mostly, the list is fascinating because it is presented in the usual, accepted manner. Alphabetical. By first name.

So while it may take a week to find a particular person, you can quickly see that the city employs 25 guys named Charles, including one Charles Brown, who makes $43,951 as a skilled maintenance technician. (He filed a complaint against his boss last year because at the department picnic, she kept pulling the football away as he tried to kick it.)

There are also 27 city workers named Christopher, including $66,981-a-year policeman Christopher Mace, who disperses angry mobs by spraying them with himself.

And we have 25 Daniels — including $66,981-a-year policeman Daniel Smoker, although he's trying to quit — but only one Danielle, an accounting supervisor at the bustling Colorado Springs Airport making $77,734. As the airport's accounting supervisor, it's her duty each day at 4 p.m. to look out her window, watch a plane land and announce, "That's two!"

And I don't know how many Davids work for other towns, but Colorado Springs has 60 Davids (and two Daves) on the payroll, including principal traffic engineer David Krauth. I called his office to speak with him about this story, but his secretary said he'd been stuck at a red light on Academy Boulevard since Aug. 16, 2004.

Another David is subdivision engineering review manager David Lethbridge. I didn't bother calling him, assuming he was probably still out whooping it up over that dazzling jewel known as Briargate.

Traffic engineer David and housing subdivision boss David are each paid $110,819 per year — calculated via a highly complex Colorado Springs accounting and salary formula known as PNOH (Picking a Number Out of a Hat).

The list also shows a pair of city workers named William Wallace, one a police officer earning $66,981 a year and the other a "principal information systems analyst" earning $89,973. Under provisions of a 13th-century Scottish law, both men are allowed to work one day each week for the daily newspaper, standing downtown and repeatedly bellowing out the name of the Gazette's parent company, "Frrrreeeedom!"


And while there are 16 Erics and 28 Jasons and 42 guys named James working for the city, there are only two people named Arthur. One of them is Arthur Arms, who goes by the name Skip. He served for many years as the official spokesman for the police department and is now paid $109,405 a year as a police commander.

Skip is a nice guy and a great cop but, well, he wasn't much of a police spokesman. Frankly, getting information from Skip Arms was like getting information from Marcel Marceau. (I once got confused and wrote in a news story that a suspect in a liquor store robbery was trapped inside a clear plastic box and later tried to escape by climbing a rope.)

We also have a $99,737-a-year information systems manager named Jesse James, although his actual income is reported to be in the $450,000 range if you include all the train robberies. (That, of course, was just a joke. Jesse James is a great guy and a skilled information systems manager and just to make sure he doesn't hate me or sue me I will meet him in the city's employee parking lot today with an apology. And a lump of sugar for his horse.)

Finally, the list shows only one person on the city payroll named Elf. Elf Winters. And I am not making that up. Elf Winters makes $39,982 a year as an administrative technician, a job that consists partly of secretarial and management duties but mostly of making toys and cookies for the other 2,369 city workers.

And, of course, making sure City Manager Penny Culbreth-Graft ($210,000) has a bigger holiday wreath than everyone else.

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