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Outside counsel on the fired legislative assistant won’t exceed $10K

Published: January 28, 2014, 6:59 pm, by Monica Mendoza

Colorado Springs will not spend more than $10,000 on an outside attorney to handle the firing of the City Council’s legislative assistant, the city’s chief of staff said.

Chief of Staff Laura Neumann, who announced her resignation Tuesday, said the city had a verbal agreement with law firm Hogan Lovells “that their services on the Culpepper matter will not exceed $10K.” She said last week that the city has hired outside counsel when city employees are involved. The City Attorney’s office has 28 attorney positions, including three that specialize in human resources, according the approved 2014 city budget. The city hired Hogan Lovells for the Culpepper issue.

The City Council hired George Culpepper Dec. 18 as its legislative assistant to do research on behalf of the council for its policy development.

Mayor Steve Bach fired Culpepper Jan. 9 after he called Alaska Airlines while doing research on the issue of marijuana and the Colorado Springs Airport. Culpepper said the city wanted to negotiate a deal with him and that its Human Resources director offered him $12,100 and three months of extended medical benefits.

But then the city reneged, Culpepper said. His attorney Bob Gardner said Culpepper is evaluating his options.

“For the city to say there is  no formal offer is like Bill Clinton saying what the definition of is, is,” Gardner said reacting to Bach and Neumann saying there never was a formal settlement or buyout offer extended to Culpepper and there never would be.