After an hours-long closed session yesterday, City Council decided there was little it could do to alter the compensation package – which includes 18 months’ salary, a company car, $20,000 in outplacement services and cash in lieu of vacation and retirement benefits.
Council president Scott Hente said Council found the former board of trustee’s action “personally and professionally repugnant,” but decided to forego legal action to avoid costly litigation fees, which he said could be as much as the compensation package itself.
Outcry over McEvoy’s severance surfaces immediately after it was announced, but Hente said even then it was likely too late to change it.
Former board chairman, Jim Moore, signed a tentative agreement with McEvoy almost immediately – and signed the complete agreement after the Board of Trustees re-affirmed it on April 30.
The board was subsequently removed at a May 1 special city council meeting, and a new board was appointed Friday, May 4.
“I’m disappointed that it happened this way,” he said. “And I think frustrated is a good word for how I feel that we weren’t able to do anything about it.”
While the board of trustees acted within their legal scope, Hente said the City Council as a whole found their actions wrong.
“I think we did the worse thing we could do,” Hente said. “We removed them. Do I wish it had been different? Yes. Even now, I wish we could still fight this, still do the right thing. But that’s going to cost taxpayers’ money, and I have to be fiscally responsible.”
McEvoy has already recieved six-months severance, or $335,000, according to a story in the Colorado Springs Gazette. That was the severance set aside in his 2008 contract, and he reecieved it May 17. However, he will now be paid the rest of the severance due him.
Hente said he appreciated McEvoy’s contribution and work while he was at Memorial.
“I’m only sorry that the way he’s leaving has discolored that record,” he said.
Mayor Steve Bach issued a statement Tuesday morning, saying that the outcome was disastrous and should not be repeated.
“Greater oversight and tighter control of all City owned institutions is paramount. This kind of disastrous outcome must not be repeated in the future. Moving forward, we should have a transparent community dialogue, with appropriate checks and balances in determining the best governance model for all city owned institutions including Colorado Springs Utilities.”