COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The city's fleet maintenance workers learned Monday that their jobs will be outsourced starting next year.
Chief of Staff Laura Neumann said the move will impact about 60 employees and save $1.9 million in costs over three years and millions more because the city won't have to pay into workers' retirement. Several workers who maintain the Fire Department's larger equipment will keep their city jobs.
"When you save money, you provide services the citizens have been asking for for some time," Neumann said. "Whether that's additional bus service or parks or as it relates to stormwater."
Neumann said she couldn't reveal which firm the city is negotiating with, but said the firm is interested in hiring current staff with potential for reductions in salaries and benefits. She mentioned the firm had noted that some current workers may be overcompensated.
Employees learned of the change at a mandatory meeting. The media was not allowed to attend, but KRDO waited outside. Most declined to comment and appeared disheartened.
"Basically just disappointment, surprised that it really finally happened," said an employee who didn't want to give his name. "Nobody ever really thought it was going to happen and when it did, it's pretty much a shock."
The man, who said he's worked with city fleet for 22 years, said workers are left with many questions.
"How you're going to pay your bills, are you going to get enough money?" he said. "Are you going to be employed by a company that's as good as you already had?"
Another man told KRDO that his roots are in Colorado Springs and he can't imagine outsourced workers having the same sense of pride in their jobs.
"It's very personal to all of them and I respect that," Neumann said in response. "Our fleet operation is ranked in the top across the nation because of the pride and because of the quality. So when they speak out against that, I respectfully acknowledge it and I would not debate that point."
KRDO asked Neumann if the firm the city is in talks with is based in America. She said the company has a headquarters in America and employees nearly 10,000 people in the U.S. But she said it is part of a larger organization that has a parent company based internationally.