We just received a response to our open records request to Georgia Regents University. In its offer letter to Melcher, it states he'll be paid $235,000 a year and started Sept. 15. Here's the letter:
See related PDF
In addition, we've heard from former Council President Scott Hente
, who wanted to note that Melcher was paid a $25,000 bonus
by Bach in 2012 or early 2013, despite the fact the City Charter
leaves the city attorney's compensation up to Council:
13-80.City Attorney, Duties. The City Attorney shall conduct all cases in court in this State wherein the City shall be party plaintiff or defendant, or a party in interest. The City Attorney shall be the legal adviser of the Mayor, Council, Commissions, and Heads of Departments in relation to their duties, and shall perform such other duties, not inconsistent herewith, as may be required of the City Attorney by ordinance. The City Attorney shall receive such salary as the Council by ordinance shall prescribe. (1909; 1979)
Hente also adds his two cents worth in response to the city's post on
this blog our story
Now to make matters worse, I just read the “City of Colorado Springs” response to your article. Comparing salaries and benefits from 2010 to 2015 is comparing apples and oranges. There were more employees in 2010 so sure salaries and benefits would constitute a higher [percent of the budget]. And then to state that media reporting constitutes and takes the place of quarterly reporting to Council?!
Give me a break
———ORIGINAL POST WED., OCT. 1, 2014, 12:23 P.M.———-
Today, we reported on the mechanics of the departure
of former city attorney Chris Melcher
. In sifting through all the various employment agreements Melcher had with Mayor Steve Bach
during his 28-month tenure, we found an interesting tidbit.
In an attachment to his March 1, 2012, amendment to his employment agreement, called Exhibit A, Melcher agreed not to sue the city
under various laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and the like.
Melcher also agreed to "remain reasonably available" to provide information, if asked by the city, for one year.
But the provision that's worthy of note is this:
Non-disparagement. Both the Mayor and Employee agree to never make a negative comment relating to the circumstances surrounding Employee's departure from the City's employ. If asked, both the Mayor and Employee agree that they will respond by stating that Employee chose to pursue other opportunities, and both parties wish each other well.
That clause is missing from the final version of Melcher's agreement, and it's different from the non-disparagement provision routinely found in most of the other severance
agreements with former Springs employees in the last three years.
Those agreements state that the out-going employee
won't disclose the settlement's terms or any information obtained as an employee unless ordered by a court to do so
. The non-disparagement clause states: "Employee further agrees not to
disparage the City or any of its elected officials, entities, employees or agents in any public context to include circumstances such as media interviews or statements, public speeches, book deals, etc., whatsoever."
(Since Melcher's final agreement didn't contain that provision as far as we can see, does that mean Melcher can write a tell-all memoir?)
Because the agreements with other employees say the confidentiality and hush clauses were a "a significant inducement for the City to enter into this Agreement," the city required employees to promise to keep their mouths shut or repay whatever severance pay they were given.
As you might recall, the city initially took the position that severance agreements were confidential
and should be withheld from the taxpayers who fund them
. The Independent challenged that position and prevailed
last year after getting an attorney involved. So that's why we could tell you all about the Melcher deals, and those who left with walking money before him.
Here is Melcher's final agreement and related documents:
See related PDF