The Colorado Springs Gazette ran an article that began with these words:
Some El Paso County workers are paid so little they qualified for food stamps, county officials say.
For a family of four, the cutoff for being eligible for food stamps is $27,564, Ironically, county workers who determine applicants’ eligibility for social services make less than that — $23,742 to $27,511, about 18 percent less than Teller County pays.
Other county workers also are underpaid, employee benefits manager Imad Karaki said.
The county’s average pay for 90 comparable jobs in a recent multi-agency survey is $54,955, compared to the city of Colorado Springs’ average of $72,129 Those jobs don’t include salaries of elected officials, such as county commissioners who are paid $87,300 annually, and City Council members who are paid $6,250 a year.
The comparison comes from a county analysis of data collected by Mountain States Employment Council, a personnel consulting firm that surveys public employee information.
EDITORIAL NOTE: El Paso County (Colorado) says that it would take $35 million to make county salaries competitive; the City of Colorado Springs catch-up cost is $9.2 million. The question remains, catch up to what? At a time when thousands of residents of El Paso County are out of work, it seems arrogant and insensitive to talk about raising the salaries of government workers, who at least should be grateful to have a job.