Penny wants more money, Council peeved

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In what appears to be an act of trickery, just-resigned City Manager Penny Culbreth-Graft is working with a lawyer to try and relieve the city of $105,000.

The Colorado Springs Business Journal and other media are reporting today that Culbreth-Graft sent a letter to the city attorney stating that she was owed the money as severance pay. The letter said that she was owed the money because Interim City Manager Steve Cox was sworn into office on April 13, and Culbreth-Graft's resignation wasn't until April 16.

The early swearing-in, the letter contended, amounted to “constructive termination.”

City Council members have said that Cox was sworn in under the stipulation that it would he wouldn't take office until the 16th.

Some on Council are outraged by Culbreth-Graft's unexpected move.

"To imply that she was forced out and as such is eligible for the six-month clause in her contract is preposterous,” Councilor Scott Hente says.

Councilor Tom Gallagher echoes those sentiments.

“She got a positive review and then she turned in her notice,” he says.

Both Gallagher and Hente say Culbreth-Graft was under no pressure to leave, and turned in her letter of resignation of her own free will. She left the Council meeting April 13 after Cox was sworn in, using the words "constructive termination" as she departed, and she emptied her office that afternoon.

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