Thursday, May 12, 2011

Who's in charge?

Posted By on Thu, May 12, 2011 at 10:28 AM

Note: This post was updated at 3:15 p.m. with County Administrator Jeff Greene's 2011 salary.

Makes you wonder who's really running county government when the recommended reading list comes from the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce.

On Wednesday, a courier dropped off copies of Stephen M.R. Covey's book, The Speed of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything, at the commissioners' offices at 27 E. Vermijo St. One for each commissioner, compliments of the Chamber.

The book, a 2007 release, is described like this on goodreads.com:

For business leaders and public figures in any arena, The Speed of Trust offers an unprecedented and eminently practical look at exactly how trust functions in our every transaction and relationship—from the most personal to the broadest, most indirect interaction—and how to establish trust immediately so that you and your organization can forego the time—killing, bureaucratic check—and—balance processes so often deployed in lieu of actual trust.

After the courier dropped off the books, office worker Linda Powell started to deliver them to each commissioner's office, but the board's assistant Fran St. Germaine stopped her. St. Germaine said she wasn't sure commissioners could accept them, because she thought there's a rule that forbids commissioners from accepting gifts whose value exceeds a certain amount. She said she didn't know what the limit is. The book's jacket gave the price at $26.99.

In any event, St. Germaine said commissioners would have to decide whether they can legally keep them. However, they'll have trouble returning them, considering Covey signed each one in black felt-tip with a personal message addressed to each by first name.

In another revealing disclosure, County Administrator Jeff Greene acknowledged that "several business leaders" in the community have been recruiting him to become chief of staff for Steve Bach, should he be elected Colorado Springs' first strong mayor next week over opponent Richard Skorman.

Bach and Greene conferred before a meeting of county commissioners and City Council members on April 27.
  • Pam Zubeck
  • Bach and Greene conferred before a meeting of county commissioners and City Council members on April 27.

So besides sending over the books, the business community seems pretty interested in orchestrating who Bach hires. The chief of staff job probably would mean a salary bump for Greene. The job has been likened to that of an assistant city manager, a post that pays somewhere in the neighborhood of $170,000 to $180,000. Greene's 2009 county pay was $125,000; his current pay is $137,300.

But Greene says he's staying put. "I told them no," Greene says during a chat yesterday at the county administration building.

But Greene says he offered Bach some advice. He told him he needs to create a two-year plan that will be ready to go on the day he's sworn into office. He also told him he needs to have the resources and personnel identified who will implement the plan. Greene won't be one of those people.

It's no wonder business leaders want Greene to help Bach. Greene was named "National County Leader of the Year" for 2009 by the National Association of Counties. He has steered the county through a reorganization and a morass of budget cuts and layoffs without the county suffering the kind of blowback from taxpayers that the city experienced when it stopped watering parks and shut off streetlights during a budget crunch.

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