Government & Politics  January 17, 2024

Loveland council votes to accept city manager’s resignation

LOVELAND — The Loveland City Council has agreed to a severance package for City Manager Steve Adams. 

The city will provide nine months of pay after his Feb. 2 departure date, plus pay for 802 hours of accrued vacation time, a sum that will total about $290,000. Adams was first appointed in 2016 as manager but has worked for the city for about 30 years.

The severance amount was modified from Adams’ request of 12 months pay after extensive debate. Adams’ original request would have totalled about $361,000.

Adams approached individual members of the council prior to the meeting, indicating that he intended to offer his resignation as long as the council approved a separation package that he put forward.

Before Adams’ proposal was presented, council member Troy Krenning offered a motion to terminate, which would limit severance to six months. A motion to terminate would require six favorable votes, and the council previously was not able to reach that level. Again Tuesday, the council voted 5-4 in favor, which was insufficient to approve the motion.

When Adams’ severance package was introduced, the manager said that it had become clear to him that “members wanted a new direction, and I was not part of that direction.”

He also said that city staff “is nervous and ready to move on.”

Council member Steve Olson said he was not in favor of Adams’ departure but also recognized that if he stayed, “he would suffer death by a thousand cuts.”

Council member Erin Black said she was not in favor of the request. “I would be OK if $145,000 was taken off the top,” which was a reference to the settlement agreement that the city approved to end the lawsuit that Stacy Lynne had filed against the city and Adams. Black also said that settlements paid out by the police department “were under your watch.”

Adams had been charged in June 2022 with criminal harassment of Lynne over an incident that occurred three months earlier inside the Larimer County Justice Center. Lynne alleged that Adams “shoulder checked” her as she recorded city officials leaving a courtroom. Adams remained on the job and agreed to enter an adult-diversion program rather than go to trial. After he attended a conflict-management course and completed community services, the charges against him were dismissed and the case records sealed. However, last March, Lynne sued Adams in 8th Judicial District Court.

Council member Jon Mallo suggested a compromise — that the city provide payment for 802 hours of vacation, which is above the 640 permitted under Adams’ contract, but cut the severance pay to six months. That proposal would have cost about $233,000.

Adams said that would not be acceptable.

Mayor Jacki Marsh asked whether nine months severance would be acceptable, and Adams said he had anticipated that a compromise at nine or 10 months would be offered, and he would accept that.

“I could support nine,” Krenning said. “It is a compromise. My motivation is not vindictive. It is somewhat political. It is the nature of the new council. The trade winds have changed.”

The council voted 7-2 to approve the amended separation agreement, with Black and Olson voting against.

The council then directed the manager to post the vacancy among city staff to see if any qualified city employees wish to be considered to serve as interim city manager. Staff will have five days to respond so that the council on Tuesday next week can consider an interim appointment. The permanent replacement will likely be drawn from a national search.

Earlier in the meeting, the council also reduced the pay of City Attorney Moses Garcia from $215,000 to $200,000.

That also resulted in council debate, with Olson saying that the council has “created a hostile work environment that affects other members of the staff.”

Council member Andrea Samson said the council has an opportunity “to take a step back and whatever we are trying to accomplish, do it in a way that is respectful.” She said the pay cut appeared to her to be vindictive, a characterization that drew outcry from other members of the council.

The vote to reduce Garcia’s pay was 5-4.

LOVELAND — The Loveland City Council has agreed to a severance package for City Manager Steve Adams. 

The city will provide nine months of pay after his Feb. 2 departure date, plus pay for 802 hours of accrued vacation time, a sum that will total about $290,000. Adams was first appointed in 2016 as manager but has worked for the city for about 30 years.

The severance amount was modified from Adams’ request of 12 months pay after extensive debate. Adams’ original request would have totalled about $361,000.

Adams approached individual members of the council prior to the meeting, indicating that he intended…

Ken Amundson
Ken Amundson is managing editor of BizWest. He has lived in Loveland and reported on issues in the region since 1987. Prior to Colorado, he reported and edited for news organizations in Minnesota and Iowa. He's a parent of two and grandparent of four, all of whom make their homes on the Front Range. A news junkie at heart, he also enjoys competitive sports, especially the Rapids.
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