Aurora Bonuses Called ‘Appalling’

Written by Brian MaassAURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – Bonuses handed out to three Aurora City Council appointees earlier this year have now become a campaign issue in Aurora’s mayoral race with two candidates blasting the bonuses.

“Somebody should have stepped up and said, ‘This isn’t what we do,’ ” said Steve Hogan, a candidate for Mayor.

Jude Sandvall, another candidate, called the bonuses “appalling.”

“Unequivocally, no, it is not a time for us to be doing that,” Sandvall said.

A CBS4 investigation earlier this month revealed the bonuses. Aurora City Council awarded three of its appointees — the city attorney, chief municipal judge and court administrator — thousands of dollars in bonuses as the city was making deep cuts due to a $7 million budget shortfall.

City pools have been closed, library hours cut and employee groups agreed to concessions to help Aurora through the budget crunch.

But council awarded the city attorney about an $8,000 performance bonus, more than $5,000 to the court administrator, and a bonus of about $4,000 to the municipal judge.

RELATED STORY: Aurora Administrators Get Bonuses Amid Budget Cuts

“I was very surprised,” Hogan said. “It’s not about the people who got the bonuses, it’s about the 2,000 city employees who were told, ‘The city is broke, we can’t give you anything.’ We’re not sending the same message to everyone … We’re not even sending the same message to the community when we do that.”

“It’s very disappointing to me,” Sandvall said.

City Councilman Ryan Frazier, also a candidate for mayor, defended the bonuses saying, “That had it not been for their good work we would have had to make deeper budget cuts. And we felt this was a modest, reasonable way in which we could acknowledge the work that saved the city and our taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

Frazier was among the council members who approved the bonuses.

Candidates are also assailing the way the bonuses were awarded. As CBS4 previously reported, the bonus money was agreed to in executive session and was never made public.

“If you’re doing things above board there is no problem talking about them in the light of day,” Sandvall said.

“It just shouldn’t have to come out in an investigative report,” Hogan said.

But Frazier and other city officials say the bonuses were a personnel issue, and items like that are never discussed in public.

The Aurora Sentinel newspaper is also weighing in. According to an editorial in the paper, “It was a big, big mistake” to hand out the bonuses when city employees are taking unpaid furlough days and dealing with pay freezes.

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Comments

One Comment

  1. James McLin says:

    This is the problem with elected office and should be criminal for ALL, prosecution is advised. This is fraud.

  2. vasilich says:

    I have found your blog long ago and continue reading it up-to-date! But now I have decided to register and write a comment for those who are here for the first time! Do not pass by!! Do not look at the site design! The content is surely what you need from this topic! Stay with us and enjoy!

  3. Brian says:

    So apparently, all other city employees are undeserving of a bonus, according to what Mr. Frazier says.

  4. Debbie Jackson says:

    What are these people thinking. THEY AREN’T. What about the people that put there lives on the line every time they go to work. They are not deserving of a pay raise or bonus.

  5. JS says:

    Mr. Frazer? First, he gets elected to city council. Then he runs for Congress. Now? He wnats to be mayor. Frazer sounds like a professional politician wannabe only interested in himself!

    1. Liz Q says:

      that seems to be the case– that is what is wrong with our whole political system– self-serving career politicians, not statesmen/stateswomen

    2. carol says:

      he really wants to be governor and has not kept that secret over the years. i’m sure there are many who would have done as good or better job than the 3 appointees who received bonuses. . does he think they are the only 3 that could fill their positions?

  6. Liz Q says:

    what ever happened to people simply doing the job they are hired to do and that they are paid to do? is a “bonus” really necessary for doing what you are hired to do? I’ve never received one in my 35-year work career– my “bonus” for a job well done has been keeping my job. Ah, but then, I’m in the private sector… common business sense doesn’t seem to apply to the public sector

  7. Rodger S says:

    The bad part about this is that it was done behind closed doors!!
    and no-one new about it but those who OK’d the bonus. I agree that they should be charged for misappropreations of funds

  8. Michael says:

    So Aurora, the cess pool city of Colorado has budget problems and they are handing out bonuses under the table for people who are already overpaid. I live in Aurora and I have to tell you this city is crime-ridden and full of low income residents living on welfare. Theses idiots in office think they are deserving of bonuses? This city is a mess and until they start cleaning up the streets and gettin rid of all of the low lifes living here, this will always be a ghetto city.

  9. SASSY says:

    UNFORTUNATELY BRIAN MAASS HAS ONLY SCRATCHED THE SURFACE OF AURORA’S PROBLEMS. I THINK AN OUTSIDE AUDITING FIRM SHOULD BE HIRED TO DETERMINE WHAT TRULY HAPPENS TO OUR TAX DOLLARS. “TRANSPARENCY” IS THE FAVORITE WORD OF CITY COUNCIL BUT EVERYTHING IS DONE BEHIND CLOSED DOORS. THE BEHAVIOR OF THE POLICE DEPARTMENT IS A DISGRACE BUT RATHER THAN CORRECT PROBLEMS WE ALLOW UNIFORMED OFFENDERS TO RETIRE AND DRAW PENSIONS. IT IS MY FERVENT HOPE THAT BRIAN MAASS DOES NOT DISCONTINUE HIS EFFORTS TO DELVE INTO AURORA’S PROBLEMS. .

  10. john says:

    Gosh this is interesting.
    By reading past blogs you would think that the budget probelms is caused by the unions?
    That’s what some people think!
    Unions were formed to kind of help the working guys get a fair wage and not just the Mucka Mucks get bonuses.
    I know it’s such a small amount of money?
    That’s what everybody says.
    The politicians like to use the term “drop in a bucket”
    You get enough “drops” and before long you have a full bucket.
    As ti Debbies comment I am really sick of hearing about people “putting their life on the line”
    Everybody’s life is always on the line. stop with the “life on the line garbage”

  11. ashbur66 says:

    It’s always nice when you can not only be informed, but also entertained!
    http://www.capshoponline.com/

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