Last month, Chief of Staff Laura Neumann hired an executive assistant at $70,000 a year.
Neumann didn’t advertise the position, which she said is “unusual.”
But Neumann said she needed someone with the right skill set to give her a hand, especially since she was recruiting for seven manager positions that report directly to her. The seven positions were either vacant or filled by someone on an interim basis, she said.
Neumann’s new assistant, Samantha “Dani” Ewen, used to be the human resources director at Cheyenne Mountain Resort, which is where Neumann worked as vice president and general manager before she went to work for Bach in January.
“That’s not why she’s here,” Neumann said.
Ewen was one of four finalists for the city’s human resources director job and had been vetted through the selection process, she said. Even though Ewen didn’t get that job, Neumann said, she was a good fit in the mayor’s office.
Another new worker, Jason Lippert, is a former fellow at El Pomar Foundation.
Lippert, who joined the mayor’s office four weeks ago, was hired by the city from a temp agency. He gets paid $25 an hour, or $2,000 every two weeks.
Insiders jokingly refer to Lippert as the “assistant to the assistant.”
The city did not respond to a request for Lippert’s job description but said he helps with scheduling.
Bach has an extremely busy schedule, sometimes working from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., said Cindy Aubrey, the mayor’s chief communications officer.
“I know because I go to the events,” she said. “One person is not able to do all of that.”
Neumann and Steve Cox, the mayor’s chief of economic vitality and innovation, defended the hiring decisions, saying the two new employees are filling a critical need.
“We need to be able to be flexible as an organization,” Cox said.
Cox emphasized that the city is spending less on payroll this year than last year.
“The bottom line is we’re spending less money today,” Cox said.
As the city transitions to a new system of government that makes the mayor the city’s chief executive, Cox said the administration is making staffing adjustments as necessary.