Monday, April 24, 2017

Odds and ends from Colorado Springs to La Junta

Posted By on Mon, Apr 24, 2017 at 4:36 PM

click to enlarge Kara Skinner is Boulder-bound.
  • Kara Skinner is Boulder-bound.
From City Hall to La Junta, here's a few tidbits of news.

City CFO resigns
Kara Skinner, chief financial officer for the city of Colorado Springs, has resigned.
Skinner says she’s accepted a job as assistant finance director for the city of Boulder and that the move is “in line with our long-term family plan.”

She replaced Terri Velasquez, who was forced out in 2011 just before Steve Bach took office and later sued, collecting a $250,000 settlement from the city.

Here's a news release:
With the pending departure of City of Colorado Springs Chief Financial Officer Kara Skinner, the City will begin recruiting for the position in the coming weeks. Mayor Suthers offered his appreciation to Skinner, who has accepted a job out of town.

“Kara is an extremely intelligent, credible and respected individual and while we congratulate her on the new position, we will absolutely miss her talents and presence here in Colorado Springs. Kara has consistently led the city through complex budgeting challenges and has done so with a sophisticated and professional approach. We wish Kara and her family only the best in their move.”

Skinner joined the city staff in 2006 and worked as a principal analyst and interim finance and budget director before being appointed CFO in 2012.

Given the timing of Skinner’s departure, the City will temporarily divide the responsibilities of her position between Nancy McCauley from the Colorado Springs Police Department serving as interim finance director and Charae McDaniel serving as interim budget director.

The City expects to retain a recruiting firm to fill the position of CFO, while delaying the open position of Assistant Director of Finance until the higher position is filled.

Updated job postings are available at www.coloradosprings.gov/page/hr-careers


City seeks dismissal of Serco suit
The city of Colorado Springs wants a lawsuit filed by fleet maintenance contractor Serco Inc. dismissed.
click to enlarge Police cars like this one are maintained by Serco. - PAM ZUBECK
  • Pam Zubeck
  • Police cars like this one are maintained by Serco.
In a motion filed April 19, the city argues the lawsuit should be dismissed, because not all avenues to resolve disputes as specified in the contract have been exhausted.
Serco filed suit on March 6 alleging it should be paid more, because it’s losing money. (“Colorado Springs faces lawsuit over out-sourced fleet maintenance contract,” April 5, 2017)

But the city asserts the contract contains an alternative dispute resolution process involving a panel comprised of city officials and an outside attorney to hear and rule on disputes. The contract itself contains no pay clause for the fourth and fifth years on the five-year contract, because Serco persuaded the city to omit that, arguing it hoped to lower its charges. The contract also allows for a consumer price index increase, but Serco has sought a 22 percent pay hike for 2017, to $8.2 million.

The dispute panel has not yet rendered a decision on the pay disagreement.

Sprout sprouts homes
click to enlarge Homes like these are gaining traction. - JEREMY PETERSON
  • Jeremy Peterson
  • Homes like these are gaining traction.
Sprout Tiny Homes of La Junta will collaborate with WeeCasa on a tiny home hotel and resort on the Saint Vrain River in Lyons, the company said in a news release.

Also, Sprout has acquired 19.2 acres in Salida and plans a development there. Called RiverView at Cleora, it will consist of 140 long-term lease properties and 60 overnight rentals.

Last year, Sprout designed, built and delivered six homes to Aspen Skiing Company to help fill an employee housing shortage. The company reports a new focus on commercial needs to serve larger clients.

Grants for health
Grants totaling $1.4 million have been awarded in El Paso and Teller counties by the Colorado Springs Health Foundation, created with proceeds of a lease of city-owned Memorial Hospital to UCHealth.

The grants target the foundation’s priorities, including access to care for those in greatest need; workforce shortage of primary care or psychiatric providers; suicide prevention, and school-based healthy eating and/or active living efforts for children and families.

The top five amounts awarded to the 35 recipients were Springs Rescue Mission, $80,000; Colorado Springs Fire Department Community & Public Health Division, Early Connections Learnings Centers, and Atlas Preparatory School, $75,000 each, and Regis University, $67,211.

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