Mayor Steve Bach has given two of his direct reports $25,000 bonuses.
City Attorney Chris Melcher, who's paid $187,529 a year, was rewarded for his "instrumental leadership" in leasing Memorial Health System to University of Colorado Health.
The deal indeed earned wide support from voters, who approved it 83 percent to 17 percent. However, to get it done the city paid an outside law firm, Fulbright and Jaworski, $1.55 million. In addition, the lease has given rise to two lawsuits: one from the Public Employees' Retirement Association, which seeks roughly $240 million to cover Memorial employees' retirements after they become employees of UCH, and the other from investors suing the city for Melcher's early defeasance of Memorial bonds.
The investor group, which alleged it was cheated out of $18.6 million in unpaid interest, recently agreed to settle the case for $995,000.
Chief of Staff Laura Neumann's bonus was tied to her "hiring and managing outstanding senior staff," such as in the city clerk's office, human resources, finance, information technology, planning and parks; for generating "breakthrough strategies" in the city's Strategic Plan; and for "providing WCF [Waldo Canyon Fire] general staff support." Her $25,000 supplements a current base salary of $165,000.
The bonuses, paid in 2012, come on the heels of Bach paying more than $1 million in severance pay, health benefits and sick time to get rid of 23 employees ("Take the money and run," April 3), many of them top managers. That figure doesn't include the city's recent $250,000 lawsuit settlement with fired finance director Terri Velasquez.