In this report I wanted to start off with good news. Each year, the State law mandates that the off-the-top budget of the Colorado State Patrol cannot exceed six percent growth. In this year’s budget process, and what was passed through the legislature and signed by the Governor, was a large budget increase in personnel services line to be used for salary increases for the Patrol’s personnel. In fact, the majority of several million dollars that the Patrol’s budget increased was spent on increasing salaries. After four years of NO salary survey increases, and nearly 11 years of NO meaningful salary range increases, we have finally seen progress in the salary segment of the State’s total compensation system. Also in this year’s budget, we will see an increase in the State’s contribution to healthcare benefits. We are very appreciative of the hard work of all of the front line troops as they have continued to provide great services to the people of Colorado during the past downturn in the State’s economy. By the way, I define “troops” as all employees of the Colorado State Patrol. Everyone in the chain of service, that makes the Colorado State Patrol, can be very proud of how our employees “step-up” when asked by the numerous situations our people are asked to respond to. When faced with less than optimum work environments, the true measurement of professionalism can be seen in the continued “Courteous but Firm” service given to this State’s citizens in the form of top notch highway safety efforts.
I wanted to also take this opportunity to express my concern with the recent changes to the State’s total compensation system. These concerns should NOT be taken as being ungrateful for this year’s increases in compensation. My concern is based on the system by which this year’s increases in compensation have been delivered. The changes in the past couple of years have made the total compensation system much more complicated for the employee to understand. When the average state employee needs to have more than 15 minutes of training to understand the system that they work under, it’s not a system that employees can trust or have faith in. When the budget determines how fairly the peak performing employees are treated when it comes to merit pay, there’s a problem. When the salary ranges are changed that influence the next year’s salary survey to have a negative effect, there’s a problem. When it is impossible to keep pace with the market comparable job classifications, there’s a problem. When employees consistently meet or exceed expectations of job descriptions and there is no predictable pay progression for early stages of tenure on the job, there’s a problem in retaining those quality employees. As you can tell, there is still a lot of work to be done to make a compensation system that works for the people of Colorado so that we are retaining the best and brightest employees that have public service as their priority.
At the Association of Colorado State Patrol Professionals, we will continue to focus on representing our employees as designated by the Governor’s Employee Partnership Executive Order. While our members are focused on the agency’s service goals, we all should be working towards a work environment that lends itself to excellence in service to the citizens of Colorado. The challenge we are facing is for all of us, ACSPP members, CSP Leadership, Colorado Department of Public Safety, and the rest of State government coming together to solve these issues with the total compensation system.
It’s important to remember, when pursuing these work environment goals, that we recognize the past strides in affecting the direction on benefits. These changes have made a difference for the good in our work environment in the past. We need to stay focused and united on making changes in the future to help us attract and retain employees and members. I want to again thank our members for their support of our association on these continued efforts.
This has been a very active legislative session. Several major topics have been dealt with in this session. Changes to firearms regulations, criminal sentencing, civil unions, election reforms and marijuana regulations are just to name a few of those major issues for Colorado. After the passage of Amendment 64, Colorado law enforcement remains concerned about the regulations being developed around the practical application of the legalization of marijuana. The most concerning is the standard that is to be applied when law enforcement in Colorado is determining intoxication when driving a motor vehicle under the influence of marijuana. The Colorado legislature continues to struggle with the science around determining active THC levels in users that drive and the blood draw procedures involved in determining those levels. For the safety of the motoring public, it’s critical that the Colorado legislature come to grips with passing good public policy for drivers that drive while under the influence of marijuana and put Colorado citizens at risk.
I will close this report with news from Colorado PERA. The Board of Trustees has adopted a new communications policy that involves several new approaches to getting the facts about Colorado PERA and the sustainable path they are on. The one area I want to highlight is the changes to PERA’s Ambassadors Program. The Ambassadors Program will be restructured to be more inclusive of active employees to have a broader understanding of the facts pertaining to our State’s great retirement system. Please track the roll out of this program on the PERA web site in the next couple of months. There will be some exciting developments with this program that will be interesting to all PERA members and to the State in general.
Once again, it is a pleasure working on behalf of our members. Thanks for your support of the ACSPP!
Terry L. Campbell | Director of Legislative Affairs
Association of Colorado State Patrol Professionals