Aram Benyamin

Aram Benyamin

Aram Benyamin, former CEO of Colorado Springs Utilities, took a pay cut of more than $100,000 to return to the Los Angeles Department of Power and Water (LADPW).

An LADPW spokespersons says Benyamin's salary as chief operating officer is $30,308.19 a month, or $363,698.28 a year.

At Springs Utilities, he was paid $480,000 a year.

On Nov. 18, Utilities Board Chairman Wayne Williams told the Indy that Benyamin's last pay date was to be Dec. 1. LADPW reports his first day there was Nov. 21. It's unclear if he was paid by Utilities for the last nine days of November, after he started work in Los Angeles.

Williams also told the Indy at that time that Benyamin would collect pay for his unused vacation time, per state law, and for half his unused sick pay, per policy, after that. 

Utilities policy for payment of unused sick time states, "If retirement criteria has been met, then upon retirement, regular employees will be paid for 1/2 of the accrued sick leave that is in excess of 480 hours. The excess will be paid at the employee’s current base hourly pay rate."

Utilities employees earn 12 sick days per year. Unused time would total 576 hours if Aram didn't take any sick days during his tenure with Utilities. Under the policy, he would be paid for 48 hours.

At $230.76 per hour, based on an annual salary of $480,000, Benyamin would be paid $11,076 for unused sick days.

Utilities employees are enrolled in the Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA) retirement plan, and those rules require an employee meet the "rule of 80" in order to draw a pension. That means the employee's years of service under PERA and age must equal 80 or more. Benyamin was hired at Utilities in 2015.

"Aram Benyamin meets the age and service requirements for a PERA retirement," Utilities spokesperson Jamie Fabos says via email.

PERA has other provisions that allow retirement under circumstances besides the rule of 80 or "reduced retirements," and Utilities considered Benyamin's departure as a retirement, despite Benyamin himself labeling it a resignation. 

In his Nov. 6 message to employees about "the next step in my career," Benyamin wrote, "It is with both pride and sadness that I share with you my decision to resign my post as CEO of Colorado Springs Utilities on 12/31/22." (Emphasis added.)

Williams tells the Indy that Benyamin "did retire under PERA."

His vacation and sick time payouts remain unavailable. On Nov. 30, Fabos told the Indy in an email that "the soonest we’d have that number would be Dec. 16."

The Indy renewed the request on Dec. 15 and as of 3:30 p.m. on Dec. 16, had not received those figures. We'll update when we obtain them.

Benyamin bought a home in Tarzana, California, in 2005 for $1.2 million. He also owns a house in the Cordera subdivision northeast Colorado Springs, and an office condominium at 415 E. Pikes Peak Ave. Based on land records, it appears he still owns those properties in Colorado Springs.

Benyamin didn't respond to an email from the Indy seeking comment.


Pam Zubeck is a graduate from Emporia State University. She worked at the Tulsa Tribune before coming to Colorado Springs, where she spent 16 years at the Gazette and in 2009 joined Colorado Publishing House.