Thursday, April 11, 2013

City keeps settlement details secret

Posted By on Thu, Apr 11, 2013 at 4:44 PM

City Attorney Chris Melcher: Mums the word.
  • Kin Scott
  • City Attorney Chris Melcher: Mum's the word.

When we got word earlier this week that the city had settled former finance director Terri Velasquez's wrongful termination and discrimination lawsuit, we wanted to know a couple of things:

1. How much?
2. What did she and the city agree to, exactly?

The city issued a news release late Tuesday stating the city had agreed to pay $250,000 to end the suit, filed in 2011 after her dismissal by Mayor Steve Bach's then-chief of staff Steve Cox.

But City Attorney Chris Melcher's office refuses to release the agreement — just like it refused to release all the severance agreements stemming from Bach's policy to pay people to leave, which has cost taxpayers more than $1 million since he took office in June 2011.

We just received this denial from the city:

Your request for a copy of the settlement agreement is denied pursuant to C.R.S. § 24-
72-204(3)(a)(IV) as it contains personal financial information of Ms. Velasquez and
pursuant to C.R.S. § 24-72-204(3)(a)(II)(A) which pertains to records maintained
because of the employer-employee relationship and as defined by C.R.S. § 24-72-202
(4.5).

We've been told by multiple sources who walked with a big fat severance check that the agreements the city insists they sign contain confidentiality clauses. Those clauses reportedly bar them from talking about city business FOR LIFE.

So it's probably safe to assume the same clause is contained in Velasquez's agreement.

But here's our question: What does the city have to hide?

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