District 4 City Council candidate Deborah Hendrix says it’s premature for a pay raise for council when its roles and responsibilities are in flux.
“A change in the governance of (Colorado Springs Utilities) and other measures may decrease the amount of day-to-day operations that the council handles,” Hendrix said Wednesday night in an email to council.
“Also, consider the effect of council moving from a group of citizen politicians to a group of professional politicians. That will change the dynamics of who runs for council and could lead to a situation where the salary becomes more important than serving the community,” she said.
Hendrix also questions whether the city can afford a bump in pay for council members, who are currently paid $6,250 a year.
“If we can find $437,000, why not utilize those funds for firefighters, police officers, or improved transportation? I know that with these things the citizens would be well pleased,” she said.
Hendrix said she will personally vote against a pay increase if council puts the question on the ballot in April.
The council will decide Tuesday whether to refer that proposal and four others to the ballot in April.
Here is the full, unedited text of Hendrix’s email to council:
Good Morning Councilors:
First, I want to thank you for your service to the City of Colorado Springs. I appreciate the work you have done and certainly look forward to working with those of you that will remain on Council after the election in April.
My name is Deborah Hendrix and I have been a resident in this City for the past 21 years and currently I am running for District 4 – City Council seat.
My purpose for writing to each of you is in regard to one of the upcoming amendments you will decide to put on the ballot on next Tuesday at the City Council meeting. I by no means have all the answers and know all the discussions and dialogues that have occurred regarding this issue, so I offer my humble opinion and hope that you will take that into consideration as you make your final decision.
I realize many of the changes over the last two years with the executive/legislative structure have certainly caused some issues regarding who has authority and responsibility over a number of measures that might have been very clear under the past form of government. So I applaud the work you have done to try and be clear and concise in your voting of policies, laws and procedures.
The one ballot issue, ie. Council Compensation.
Council Compensation – While paying City Council members a wage which is commensurate with the work that currently engages them seems very appropriate, with the new roles and responsibilities of City Council in flux, the increase in pay may be premature. A change in the governance of CSU and other measures may decrease the amount of day-to-day operations that the Council handles.
Also, consider the effect of Council moving from a group of citizen politicians to a group of professional politicians. That will change the dynamics of who runs for council and could lead to a situation where the salary becomes more important than serving the community.
Also, can the City at this time afford to allocate $437K within the already tight budget? If we can find $437K, why not utilize those funds for firefighters, police officers, or improved transportation? I know that with these things the citizens would be well pleased.
If this measure makes it to the ballot, I as a citizen would not support it and would be highly disappointed that the Council did not consider the short-term (financial/roles) and long-term (change in type of citizens for council) effects of such a major shift.
Thank you for taking the time to read my email. I would welcome an opportunity to discuss this issue. Thank you again for your service.