Colorado State and County Elected Officials Salaries: Downloadable 2010 Report

I just obtained Colorado’s  Salaries of State and County Elected Officials.   This excellent report was specially prepared by Geoff Johnson at the Office of Legislative Counsel, thanks to a constituent request placed for me by state Senator Dan Gibbs.

Until now, this information was not available online or through any one source in Colorado, including the Colorado.gov website.  Ex-Pat Ex-Lawyer is committed to transparency issues, and we appreciate public officials who make that work easier, regardless of political party.  The report will be kept permanently in the Resources section of the blog, located on the right.  It’s four pages long, and clearly involved meticulous research.

In exhaustive detail, I described my exhausting ordeal in obtaining this material when I first embarked on this project on March 12.  I thought it would be easy.  I thought wrong.

My break came when the independent, non-government employee webmaster for the Colorado.gov site referred me to  Natalie Mullis, an Economist at the Office of Legislative Counsel.  Bright and wanting to help, she offered to personally submit my request to Dan Gibbs.  Legislative staffer  Geoff Johnson then contacted me and went into major research action.

Gibbs is the popular Democratic State Senator for District 16.  He announced late last year he would not run for reelection, and would instead run for  Summit County Commissioner.  He is opposed by Republican Realtor, Darcy Lystlund.  Incumbent Democrat Bob French is term-limited.

As regular readers know,  the Senate District 16 race has been of great interest to this blog, because it’s my home district and because of my strong views on the Republican candidates, DA Mark Hurlbert from Breckenridge, and conservative Evergreen businessman, Tim Leonard. Gilpin County Commissioner Jeanne Nicholson is the Democratic candidate, and has no primary opponent.

As we reported exclusively,  outgoing Democrat Commissioner Bob French has endorsed Hurlbert in the race, an unusual and surprising cross-party move.  The open seat provides a great opportunity for a Republican pickup with the right candidate, and could be pivotal in reversing the current 21-14 Democrat senate majority.

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9 responses to “Colorado State and County Elected Officials Salaries: Downloadable 2010 Report

  1. Very interesting. I think the state elected officers are vastly underpaid. County commissioners probably are overpaid. Members of the State House and Senate put in a lot of hours. They should be paid $75k to $90k. Higher salaries would attract more accomplished and talented candidates.

    Why do people run for these offices? Greed for power exceeds greed for money. I’d rather see greed for money than for power. People who reach for the money are honest about their ambitions. Politicians seeking power scare most people, I think.

  2. Laura Victoria

    The legislative pay vs. county commissioners is exactly what I was thinking about today. I also agree with the power vs. the money being more dangerous. I have heard that the pay differential and the ability to work full time in Summit County are reasons Dan Gibbs decided to give up the SS and run for the Summit County Commission.

    And who could blame him? I gather a lot of legislators work part time in law firms or in their businesses to make ends meet. Local attorneys in Summit are all abuzz why someone would make the move from a $110,000 a year job to $30k. They do pay a stipend for legislators located further away from Denver for commute costs, at least.

  3. Perhaps for some its neither money nor power. Could it even remotely be that some people run just to try to make things better, rather than just complain about it?

    • Mark, thanks for your comment. Sorry for belated reply. Of course there are such candidates. But people still have to live, raise families, send the kids to college, etc. I think we want to have salaries high enough that we attract the widest range and highest caliber candidates possible, while not making them unneccesarily high so that the money becomes the attraction. But we don’t want the money to be a deterrent either. That’s all.

  4. Thank you for posting what taxpayers are paying for elected officials. Do you have information on other benefits they receive? Retirement? Health insurance?

    • Thanks, Chuck. I don’t have the specific benefits package for each position. I think it is the statutes referenced in the report, but am not sure. I believe the stuff is intentionally scattered all over the place so that the public cannot easily retrieve it and spread the word. But you’ve given me an idea for a new masochistic project, which I’ll have to save until after the election.

      If you find out anything, please let me know.

  5. Thank you Victoria. I’ve become keen on knowing more about where our money goes and how elected officials are compensated this election year. The governors race is really wild and nuts. Things like how much Hickenlooper made from Colorado taxpayers with land conservation around his property(ies) really made me sit up and take notice; sounded like a serious conflict of interest to me. Financial transparency would help add credibility to candidates. If I find out, I’ll be be glad to share.

  6. Hi there. Do you have a link for University of Colorado or other state employees? Thanks.

    • Sorry Jake, I don’t have anything specific. Just call them and you should be able to get it. I focused on elected only because I wanted to avoid any bogus claims of privacy rights.

      Please let me know their response at CU.

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