Apr 8, 2014 5:28 PM by Greg Dingrando

City Council approves mega raise for Colorado Springs Utilities CEO

COLORADO SPRINGS - Colorado Springs utilities CEO Jerry Forte is about to get a big boost in pay.

Tuesday the city council signed off on a measure that would increase his salary by more than $100,000 dollars.

The vote comes just a few weeks after a previous attempt failed that would give him a $170,000 raise. The new plan would be for roughly the same amount of money, but it would be spread out over three years. This time it passed with a vote of 5-4.

Councilmembers Miller, King, Collins and Snider opposed the resolution.

Supporters said Forte went without a raise for seven years, putting him well below the average pay scale for utility companies.

"if you're comparing to other utilities in similar size you'll find our company is about 46% below the market," said councilwoman Jan Martin.

Martin said Forte not only fought through the tough economic times, but kept the company going in the right direction. She said when you look at his success, the city just can't afford to lose him.

"Utilities is a billion dollar corporation. We as a community really benefit from reliable service," said Martin.

But critics were outraged and said nobody deserves a raise that big, especially when it comes on the backs of the rate payers.

Kanda Calef is with the Business Chamber for Southern Colorado.

"How can our current council think it's a good idea to increase someone's salary by about 50% from what he's making currently? He's already making more than $300,000. It's very disturbing to citizens," said Calef.

As for Forte, we asked him what he thinks of the raise and sort of dodged the question.

"I really trust the city council to do what they think is right in respect to that," said Forte.

However, he did address the idea of him going else where. When we asked him if he's looking for jobs here's what he had to say, "I'm not looking for other jobs. This is my home town," said Forte.



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