Council delays Memorial CEO severance decision

After more than an hour in executive session, the Colorado Springs City Council postponed the decision about outgoing CEO Larry McEvoy’s $1.15 million severance package.

The reason, said council president Scott Hente, was to get more advice from city attorney Chris Melcher.

“This is a complicated issue,” Hente said. “It’s about contract law, about labor laws. We had a lengthy discussion, and we’ve asked for more legal information from the city attorney.”

Melcher will present the new information at an executive session following Monday’s informal city council meeting.

Hente said he understands the community wanted the issue settled, but the city council was moving cautiously.

“I’d like this settled sooner rather than later,” he said. “But we have to be sure we’re doing the right thing before we make a final decision.”

Hente refused to give his personal opinion about the severance package – which includes 18 months’ salary, the CEO car, $20,000 in outplacement services and cashing out retirement and vacation benefits.

“I have to be very careful here,” he said. “I don’t want to step on the city’s toes before we make a decision.”

City council also approved Aug. 28 as the date for the election to lease Memorial to the University of Colorado Health. That gives them until July 7 to craft the ballot initiative.

Details of the lease, currently being negotiated, will be released June 11, Hente said.

“We wanted to have it done by the end of May,” he said. “We’re not quite there yet, but we’re getting close.”

Hente refused to discuss details of the lease, but said he hoped voters would separate their outrage about McEvoy’s severance from the lease agreement.

“One is about a departed CEO, and how people feel about his severance,” he said. “And the other is about the future of health care in the city – for the next 40 years. The lease is important, and I’d hate to see one affect the other.”