High-profile job openings but few applicants

Mon, Jan 3, 2011


There are a few job openings in town.

We’re talking about positions that include your very own private office with an actual window and the opportunity to sit in meetings and make decisions that effect every one of your fellow residents – or at least those with minor land-use issues.

C’mon, step right up, don’t be shy, take the plunge – someone has to do it! Jobs are going begging, and even in this disastrous economy, there are few takers.

You guessed it: We’re looking for eager folks with independent means who want to run for City Council.

Pay: $6,250 annually.

Benefits: office furniture, free heat and cooling, use of a chair on the council dais.

Power: Limited to matters that the Mayor doesn’t want to be bothered with, as well as ratifying the budgets of the city’s enterprises (which run perfectly well without the intervention of well-meaning but clueless part-time elected officials).

Commitment: 20-30 hours a week.

Perks: invitations to functions which any sensible person would pay to avoid.

Length of sentence: four years, with an additional four years for good behavior.

Intangibles: occasional illusions of glory; the opportunity to engage in public quarrels with your co-workers; abundant time for daydreaming during work hours, as council meetings drag on interminably.

Seven of these jobs must be filled by April 5th, and so far there are only six applicants.

By contrast, there are currently eight announced, or sort-of announced candidates for mayor.

Three mayoral aspirants (Messrs. Bahr, Gilmore, and Munger) have collectively raised $250,000. Two others (Mr. Bach and Mr. Skorman) are expected to step up with big numbers as well.

Of the six candidates for council, only one reports having raised any money. Angela Dougan, a candidate for the District 2 council seat which was vacated by Darryl Glenn, collected $3,000 in November from two contributors. Joe Woodford gave her $1,000, and Gary Erickson wrote a check for $2,000.

Yet despite her fundraising prowess, Ms. Dougan is not assured of a place on the new council. Larry Bagley is also running for the District 2 seat, meaning that the six candidates can only fill five seats, leaving two at-large seats vacant.

Look, these are tough, unrewarding, frustrating, and ultimately meaningless jobs, but someone has to do them. Imagine the negative national publicity if there aren’t enough candidates.

I’m not sure how many Springs residents have undergone “leadership training” in the last decade or two, but the number must be over 1,000. Take the names, throw them into a hat, draw two, and demand that they run.

And if they refuse?

Not a problem! If the people could vote on it, I’ll bet they’d trade a couple of council members for $12,500 worth of enhanced city services.

A few more trash cans in the parks, for example?

Quiet, useful, undemanding,willing to work for nothing, there when you need them…

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4 Comments For This Post

  1. Rick Wehner Says:

    I do not believe this has happened before – but then again, this is the first time I recall ‘politicians’ being held in such low esteem that it would deter quality people from running.

    What happens if there are an insufficient number of people running for all the open seats – positions that are basically volunteer positions?

    They just go unfilled?

  2. Vikki Walton Says:

    Hmmm. I thought one had to be paid at least minimum wage for labor. In that case, our council would legally be set to receive a raise this month to the wonderful “living wage” salary of $7066.60 for a mere 20 hours a week. Or maybe we should simply consider “laying off” a couple of the council members because we simply can’t afford them with our new strong mayor coming in to save the day.

    In reality and seriousness,certainly the new council will have issues to contend with that other councils have not with a strong mayor format. And yes, we need those leaders in our midst to step forward. Unfortunately, most people need to receive an actual salary versus what some would consider prestige and others, penance. Seeking a council seat will certainly be for those among us who like a good challenge with little reward for their effort and commitment. And for those backed by developers.

  3. Brian Wess Says:

    It’s unfortunate that we…that’s a collective we…in Colorado Springs are so politically nieve that we believe our elected officials should be independently wealthy or retired volunteers, because that’s essentially what a $6,250 yearly salary means.

    Even if they do believe that public service means just that and is not a way to line your pockets or become wealthy, any talented person who really works for a living cannot afford to volunteer 20-30 hours of their time to public service unless they are a trust fund baby or retired and living off some kind of pension.

    I currently volunteer about 10 hours per week to various charitable and community organizations and as a small local business owner I’m barely scraping by in this economy. Our community needs to wake up to the realities of life in it’s political philosophy. As Benjamin Franklin said “Moderation in all things — including moderation”

  4. John Hazlehurst Says:

    You’re right, Brian-but the voters have yet to formally recognize that particular reality. maybe next election?