For the sake of transparency and watchdog journalism, I often request databases of government employee salaries.
Sometimes such databases can yield interesting stories and reveal who is working for us–the taxpayers.
Based on a database I obtained a few months ago, we can see who the top-earners are among Colorado state employees (aside from people who work at state colleges).
According to the database, here are the top three members of the state’s $100,000+ Club (aside from state colleges).
3. Keith Owen – Deputy Commissioner, Department of Education – $180,000.00
Owen oversees the state’s special education programs, federal programs including Title I, support for local school districts, and accountability systems.
Owen comes to the state department from Durango School District where he served as the superintendent for three years. During his tenure in Durango, he is credited with initiating a principal professional development program for principals in the southwest portion of the state and leading a comprehensive community strategic plan that has resulted in many improvements to the school system.
2. Dr. Christopher Urbina – Agency Director, Department of Public Health & Environment – $215,004.00
Chris Urbina, M.D., MPH, is the executive director and chief medical officer of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. He is an associate professor of the Colorado School of Public Health and Family Medicine, University of Colorado School of Medicine.
Outside of the department, Dr. Urbina is a member of the Association of Teachers of Preventive Medicine, the American Academy of Family Physicians, and the Center for Public Health Practice Advisory Committee.
At the Department of Public Health and Environment, in addition to his role as the executive director, Dr. Urbina also is responsible for the supervision of the health-related divisions, including the Disease Control and Environmental Epidemiology Division, the Prevention Services Division, the Health Facilities and Emergency Medical Services Division, the Laboratory Services Division, the Center for Health and Environmental Information and Statistics, and the Emergency Preparedness and Response Division. He also supervises the Office of Health Disparities.
1. Robert Hammond – Colorado’s Commissioner of Education – $235,000.00
Robert came to be the top leader in Colorado’s K-12 public education system by demonstrating success in city management and the banking industry. It was from there that the Wichita Public Schools in Kansas tapped him to head its administration and operations division and later serve as associate superintendent.
In 2001, he moved to the Rocky Mountain state and was the chief operations officer for the Boulder Valley School District. About five years ago, he was successfully recruited to apply his leadership talents to the state level when he was named the Colorado Department of Education’s Deputy Commissioner. Robert was then recruited as the Commissioner of Education and was officially sworn into office in May 2011.