‘Yes, there is a Santa Claus’ - Old Town maintenance man gets job back
Old Colorado City gets to keep its maintenance man.
David Porter, who had been among 180 city employees slated to lose their jobs at year's end, learned about his unexpected Christmas present Dec. 22.
“I'm relieved,” exulted the 24-year employee of the Old Colorado City Security & Maintenance District, who otherwise faced uncertainty about recent family medical bills. “It caught me totally off-guard. I can afford to pay the doctors now.”
A number of locals had supported Porter, donating to a collection for him, attending a going-away party and (in the case of Maintenance District chair Judy Kasten), writing a letter of appeal to his supervisor, City Maintenance Director Kurt Schroeder.
The district advisory board had been especially puzzled about Porter's layoff because the job itself - which involves mowing, shoveling, planting, sweeping, watering and various other chores to keep the area looking nice - wasn't going away. In fact, Danny Gieck, the City Parks special districts administrator, said afterward that he was happy, not just for Porter, but that he wouldn't have to train somebody new in Old Colorado City. “It's less of a headache for me,” Gieck said.
Kasten, who has worked with Porter in close to 20 years as a board member, responded happily. “Good News to All.........Yes there is a Santa Claus,” she enthused in a multiple-recipient e-mail. “Thanks to the prayers and support of this wonderful community, Dave's job has been reinstated.”
Asked about his decision, City Maintenance Director Kurt Schroeder insisted it was not spurred by personal appeals, but by a technical reanalysis. Initially, the Parks Department, working with City Human Resources, had used performance evaluation rankings to decide which employees to keep for the reduced number of City Parks jobs. This had left Porter out. “It wasn't so much that someone wasn't doing a good job,” Schroeder elaborated. “It was a numbers game.”
But then a hitherto-overlooked point was noticed. Unlike most other city positions, which are funded from city coffers, the district maintenance worker is paid through a special tax collected from property owners in the area around Colorado Avenue between 24th and 27th streets. And that tax is unaffected by the city budget woes. As a result, the city's ranking process “shouldn't have applied” to Porter's job, in which “he was the incumbent,” Schroeder said.
Porter didn't care what the reasons were. “I was on my knees thanking the Lord,” he said.
The next day, he said he went out and visited “a bunch of merchants,” letting them know he wasn't going away. To those he knew of who had given him donations, “I offered their money back,” Porter said. “But they said go ahead and keep it.”
Westside Pioneer article