Terri Velasquez has requested that her attorneys respond to the press release issued by the City regarding her situation. Ms. Velasquez has pending before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission a charge of discrimination against the City of Colorado Springs. This charge of discrimination has been outstanding for a considerable period of time. The City Attorney for Colorado Springs, Mr. Melcher, made a personal request of Ms. Velasquez attorneys that her EEOC charge be held in abeyance so that the City could attempt to resolve Ms. Velasquez’ claims of illegal and improper employment practices by way of a mediation. Based upon the perception that the City of Colorado Springs would act in good faith, Ms. Velasquez agreed to that request. One full day of mediation was held with a private mediator. The City came to the mediation relatively unprepared to engage in a serious effort to resolve the claims and issues. The City then requested a second day of mediation so that it could better prepare and engage in a more serious effort. Again, Ms. Velasquez agreed to move forward along that path with the understanding that the City would act in good faith and make a concerted effort to resolve the claims and issues. The second day of mediation did not occur because the City was unwilling to adequately compensate Ms. Velasquez for the injury it had perpetrated.
There are no continuing discussions between the City and Ms. Velasquez concerning resolution and the matter will now move forward through the EEOC process and the filing of a lawsuit.
The City to date has refused to share with Ms. Velasquez its investigation and the reasons for her termination. This termination occurred at a time when Ms. Velasquez was providing information to the District Attorney’s Office in a criminal investigation and shortly after Ms.Velasquez had raised an objection concerning a financial position taken by one or more City administrators, that would have violated state law. Further, to date, the City has been unable to explain why Ms. Velasquez, a very skilled and respected employee, was fired from her position without any offer to move her to an alternative position in the City. Ms. Velasquez had indicated to the Mayor her willingness to accept another position, but that offer was refused by the Mayor.
The actions of the City’s top officials will clearly be scrutinized and reviewed when litigation is filed and it is likely that the information gathered in litigation will be a matter of public record. Ms. Velasquez regrets that she was unable to reach a fair and equitable resolution with the City, through a mediation process. It is Ms. Velasquez’ understanding that the City’s decision makers were unwilling to authorize an appropriate dollar figure for resolution and this caused the mediation to fail.