Nineteen Colorado Springs city employees have received a combined $605,000 in severance payouts under the Bach administration.
Sydney Huffman, a former Colorado Springs police officer accused of fabricating claims that led to jail time and back-to-back trials against a former Manitou Springs policeman who used to date Huffman.
The city gave Huffman a severance payout of $21,956.
“As is often the case, you need to make decisions in the best interest of the organization as a whole and agree to mutually part company,” Laura Neumann, the mayor’s chief of staff, said in a recent interview.
“It was decided by both parties that it was the best solution to a situation,” she said.
Neumann and HR Director Mike Sullivan said they couldn’t provide any other information.
“We’re not able to under the terms of that agreement. We’re just not able to,” Sullivan said.
Huffman and another police officer cost the city $480,000 to settle a claim filed by Huffman’s ex-boyfriend.
In the suit, Jarrott Martinez accused Huffman of coercing Colorado Springs investigators into pursuing four warrants for his arrest — including one issued after Martinez was acquitted in two trials and a district attorney dropped charges in another case. The warrants alleged Martinez committed burglary, domestic violence and sexual assault, among other allegations.
When asked why the city would pay Huffman when she was part of a $480,000 settlement, Sullivan said there was more to the story.
“We are not able to get into those discussions nor should you. We will jeopardize the terms of that agreement that we’ve got here with that employee,” Sullivan said.
Police Chief Pete Carey declined to comment.
“I spoke with Chief Carey, and he advised that a legal, contractual agreement prohibits the city from commenting on this matter,” police spokeswoman Barbara Miller said in an email.
The Gazette obtained the severance payouts under a Colorado Open Records Request. The severance payouts do not include the amount of money that employees received in vacation or sick leave payouts.
Another former city employee who got a severance payout was Jason Lippert, an hourly employee who worked in the mayor’s office.
Lippert, who was paid $25 an hour, or $2,000 every two weeks, is a former fellow at El Pomar Foundation. He who was jokingly referred to as “the assistant to the assistant.”
“He would fit into the category of, we mutually decided to part ways,” Neumann said.
“Some hourly employees … particularly those who were privy to very sensitive information, confidential information, you reach agreements with some of those individuals,” she said.
The city included former Fire Chief Steve Cox in the list of employees who received severance payouts. But Neumann said Cox’s pay wasn’t a severance but more of a retainer to provide consulting services.
Here is the entire list of employees who have received severance payouts under the Bach administration: