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Council approves pay raise plan for Colorado Springs Utilities CEO, pothole money

Council votes on money for potholes, utilities CEO pay raise

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Colorado Springs City Council has approved a plan to eliminate the pay for performance incentive and increase the base pay for the CEO of Colorado Springs Utilities.

The 5-to-4 vote to give Utilties CEO Jerry Forte a raise comes less than two months after council rejected an even bigger raise proposal for Forte following public outcry

Council members Helen Collins, Keith King, Joel Miller and Val Snider voted against the plan.

The five who voted for it include Merv Bennett, Don Knight, Jill Gaebler, Andy Pico and Jan Martin.

The plan approved on Tuesday, April 8, 2014, means Forte will get a total compensation increase of 8.8 percent in 2014, 9.3 percent in 2015 and 8.5 percent in 2016. Forte's salary, which is currently $346,906 annually, will increase to $447,175 after three years.

"We listened to customers who were not comfortable with the size of the original proposed pay adjustment. This smaller increase would be phased in over three years," said City Councilwoman Jan Martin.

The city says it needs to raise the amount of money paid to the CEO of Colorado Springs Utilities to stay competitive. The median salary for the position nationwide is $622,071.

The city says that even after the pay increase is phased in over three years, the CEO's salary will still be 28 percent below the market median.

"It's important to make the CEO's pay more competitive with similar utilities. Retaining and attracting qualified leadership is critical to maintaining the reliable service, reasonable rates and excellent customer service that our customers have come to expect," said Martin. "A top 10 percent raking in customer satisfaction in the United States by J.D. Power and Associates doesn't happen without strong Utilities leadership."

Click here to read more about the proposal that was approved on Tuesday.

The City Council also approved the use of $2 million dollars from the general fund for street repairs. Seven council members voted for it, two voted against it. They will vote again April 22.

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