Council to consider city manager separation agreement Friday
August 11, 2015
Steamboat Springs — The Steamboat Springs City Council has scheduled a special meeting on Friday afternoon to discuss a possible separation agreement with City Manager Deb Hinsvark.
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If the agreement advances and Hinsvark exits, it would be the third time since 2008 that the city’s top employee has left amid a rocky relationship with some members of the council.
During an executive session last week, a majority of the council directed City Attorney Tony Lettunich to begin the negotiations.
The council is scheduled to meet behind closed doors at 1:30 p.m. Friday in Centennial Hall to discuss the negotiations that could lead to Hinsvark’s departure Sept. 1.
Any action on a severance agreement would have to take place during a public portion of the meeting.
In the past two partings with a city manager, councils have offered severance packages more generous than the ones that were called for in their managers’ contracts.
When Hinsvark’s predecessor, Jon Roberts, resigned in 2012, the council unanimously agreed to pay him six months worth of severance pay based on his annual salary of $153,000.
His contract did not guarantee him any severance in the event he resigned. Roberts’ benefits also continued for six months.
Council members said Roberts had earned the severance with his job performance, and the agreement was in the city’s best interest.
Former city manager Alan Lanning received seven months severance pay, or an estimated $72,000 after deductions, as part of a resignation agreement he negotiated with the council at the time.
The council also agreed to extend the repayment date of a home loan he received when he was hired.
Hinsvark’s employment contract states that, if she resigns, she is not guaranteed severance pay.
She is guaranteed two months of her $151,407 base salary in severance pay if the council terminates her contract.
If a separation agreement advances, the council and the city manager could ultimately agree to other, more generous terms.
Friday’s meeting about Hinsvark’s future is poised to divide the council.
Some council members want to see the city manager exit, and others want to stay the course.
Council President Pro-Tem Scott Myller, who supports Hinsvark, said Monday a majority of members no longer support her, and the council was heading in the direction of the separation agreement.
Myller said if Hinsvark does leave, he thinks a temporary city manager could be recruited from the Colorado Municipal League until a new one is hired.