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Fired legislative liaison expected to ask for a public meeting today

Published: January 13, 2014, 4:37 pm, by Monica Mendoza

More details about the firing of City Council legislative liaison, George Culpepper, could be revealed today at 11 a.m. in City Hall.

Culpepper, who was hired by the City Council Dec. 18 and fired last week by Mayor Steve Bach, is expected to ask that the discussion about his position and termination be held in public.

Council has been given stern warning not to hold the meeting in public — even if Culpepper asks for it be open — by the city attorney’s office. Council President Keith King said he would poll the council on whether it wanted to hold the meeting in public or go behind closed doors.

The posted agenda says: “If the employee who is the subject of the Executive Session has requested an open session, or if the personnel matter involves more than one employee and all of the employees have requested an open session, the personnel matter may be considered in open session or withdrawn from the closed Executive Session agenda.”

 Culpepper was hired to research issues for the council to help them formulate council’s proposed policies. He had made calls to Colorado Springs Airport officials and tenants at the council’s direction – something that appears to be the reason for the termination.

Four city council members met Jan. 9 at the City Administration Building with the mayor’s chief of staff, Laura Neumann, to discuss the “personnel issue.”  King said the four council members were told by the interim city attorney Wynetta Massey that they were not violating the open meeting law because they were talking about a personnel issue, he said.

King would not discuss the Culpepper incident. When asked if Bach could fire one of the city council’s staff members, he said. “Yes, he thinks he can,” King said. Council members were without a legislative liaison for several months. When the job was posted, more than 50 people applied.