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City attorney resigns

— City Attorney Tony Lettunich suddenly tendered his resignation to the Steamboat Springs City Council on Wednesday, ending a career with the city that started more than two decades ago.

Lettunich announced in September he was planning to retire and end his law practice at the end of the year, and the council is currently in the process of hiring a new attorney.

But the short notice he gave his bosses Wednesday came as a surprise to some.



Lettunich told the council in October he was committed to serving until a new attorney was hired.

“I knew he was leaving, but I didn’t know it was going to be as soon as today,” Councilman Tony Connell said.



Lettunich’s resignation was effective at noon Wednesday.

“I really wish him well and thank him for all of his service,” Councilman Jason Lacy said. “That says a lot when someone is with a city for that many years.”

Council President Walter Magill also wished Lettunich well.

“He had a good, long career,” Magill said. “He assisted several councils with his long institutional knowledge. It’s an important position, and he served well in that position.”

Magill said he was not surprised by Lettunich’s departure, because he has been pushing the council to make a decision on hiring a new city attorney.

The city attorney’s resignation came the morning after the City Council decided to wait another week before possibly naming a new attorney.

The notice also came after the council voted to reconsider its controversial and close vote on whether to release more information about an internal police investigation because of a public outcry and a conflict of interest on the council.

Magill and Lacy said they do not feel their decision to reconsider the vote influenced the timing of Lettunich’s resignation.

“He’s not walking away because of the questions. He’s walking away because of the timetable,” Magill said.

Interim City Manager Gary Suiter said he met with Lettunich shortly before his resignation took effect.

“It was expected but it still came as a surprise,” Suiter said. “He told me that he was supposed to be gone in July, and (his retirement date) was extended to December, and he just had to draw the line. That line was today.”

Suiter said Lettunich talked about some legal obligations and other items he had to wrap up before the end of the year.

Lettunich couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday.

Assistant city attorney Dan Foote is now the lead legal counsel for the city. Foote is one of the four candidates for the city attorney position.

The City Council could name an acting city attorney Tuesday.

The city attorney told the council in the fall he had wanted to retire earlier than this, but “the unprecedented press of issues over the last seven to eight months made me modify that and alter the timetable for the sake of continuity.”

The events included advising the council on the police investigation and negotiating a separation agreement between former City Manager Deb Hinsvark and the City Council.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10


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