NOTE: The following is a weekly column written by Mayor Patrick Collins.
CHEYENNE, Wyo. — The Wyoming National Guard has an amazing aviation history. We all have looked up to see the C-130s and Blackhawk helicopters flying above the capital city. Governor Gordon and General Porter hosted a black-tie reception on Saturday evening to celebrate that history and I was amazed at the wide variety and number of different aircraft they have flown over the years. Judy and I loved seeing our guard members dressed in their finest uniforms. While I appreciated the reason for the evening, the funniest part was Karl Mecklenburg, former Denver Bronco great, giving a signed picture to General Porter that said, “Dallas Cowboys Suck.” Our friend General Porter was a great sport as he showed it to the crowd. I am guessing those responsible for this funny moment might want to look over their shoulder as the good general might be looking to even up the ledger. The dual missions of our guard to protect the nation and our state make these folks essential in my book.
I loved the movie “Bohemian Rhapsody” as I grew up listening to the music of Queen. Sunday, Judy and I joined a full house at Ball Arena to see Queen with Adam Lambert. Words can’t describe the event that is a Queen concert. It was a great birthday for my wife and checked off a bucket list item for me. Freddie Mercury was incomparable, but as Brian May stated, Adam Lambert is a gift from God. His vocals were amazing and he ruled the stage almost as masterfully as Freddie. Amazing!!
I like one of the steps that our police and fire departments use in testing for promotions. Candidates are given a question to research that is a current challenge for the department. I met with a battalion chief candidate in the fire department to answer questions regarding station locations and where our specific apparatus should be placed. There is a lot of science in looking at calls for service, time to respond and maximizing the impact of our assets. The end result is informative reports on ways we can improve our departments in the future. I am impressed by the quality of their reports and the thoughtfulness of their recommendations.
I don’t normally report on the happenings of our city council committee meetings. Today is an exception as we had the first vote on the development agreement for “Project Cosmo.” LEADS gives each economic development project a code name we use until the company is ready to publicly to announce their name. Cosmo is an 800,000-square-foot data center that is going to be the first tenant in the newly created 3,000-acre High Plains Business Park. Not only will Cosmo bring great jobs to Cheyenne, but it will also bring the necessary infrastructure that is needed to allow the rest of the business park to develop. Miles of roads, water and sewer will be paid for by the company that will be the catalyst for so much future commercial, industrial, and residential development. We should have the final governing body vote on Monday, Nov. 13, and the company will start the permit process right away. Looking for a groundbreaking in the spring. Congratulations to LEADS and thanks to our city departments who spent hundreds of hours in helping to get the development agreement ready for prime time. Proud of the partnerships and effort.
We have talked about how to make sure our employees’ wages match their years of service. Our HR team met to discuss an idea that came from Jason and Sam in our Community Recreation and Events Department. They have proposed a plan that would ensure years of service in the job will be reflected with the corresponding place in that job’s wage scale. It is an innovative idea that we will soon take to the city council for their review and hopefully approval. I am constantly pleased by the creativity of our city employee team.
I met with a member of our city council this week to discuss how the salary they receive hurts their ability to draw their hard-earned retirement. In this case the pension penalizes the retirement payments more than the total the councilmember is paid by the city each month. It seems so unfair that a person who is elected to serve the residents of our city has to take a pay cut to serve. We are looking for a solution as I don’t want to see anyone penalized or decide not to run for public office due to financial penalties.
It is a short work week for me as I have taken two days off for a family wedding. My niece Mallory is getting married and our whole family is headed to Chicago to celebrate. I love these kinds of events, especially the chance to see our boys and my dad who spends the cold months in Arizona. So excited to see the kids get married and to get this family time.
I would like to take a minute and thank all of you who have served our country in the armed forces. Veterans Day is set aside to remind us of the sacrifice of military members, but I would also like to thank the families of those who serve. We had dinner this week with military members who are preparing to deploy and leave their spouses behind to hold the family together. I am so thankful we still have young people who are called to serve our country and protect this life many of us take for granted. Thank you all for your service.