Government & Politics  February 7, 2024

City Attorney Garcia to quit in Loveland if council OKs deal

LOVELAND — City Attorney Moses Garcia will resign effective April 2 after 18 years of work with the city if the Loveland City Council approves his proposed separation agreement, a city official confirmed Wednesday.

“The city attorney has proposed an amicable separation of employment to City Council,” Nicole Yost, Loveland’s director of communication and engagement, said in an email to BizWest on Wednesday afternoon. “This is driven by the council’s desire for change in the direction of the city, including executive leadership.”

Yost said Garcia’s “conditional resignation and amicable separation agreement will be addressed during the Feb. 27 City Council meeting. If the council approves the agreement,” she said, “the city attorney will depart on April 2. City Council is responsible for appointing an acting city attorney, and it will provide further staff direction at a later date.”

SPONSORED CONTENT

Business Cares: February 2024

This Month’s Featured Nonprofit: At the Boulder Community Health (BCH) Foundation our donors have partnered with us to invest in the best medical resources available to support the treatment and recovery of our patients. Our staff and physicians recognize that providing the best quality of care can sometimes mean assisting patients with the social and … Continued

“I expect to receive his resignation later this month,” Mayor Jacki Marsh told BizWest on Wednesday.

Moses Garcia

Although she hadn’t heard Garcia’s reasoning for leaving his post, Marsh said she wasn’t surprised.

“When you have new city leaders and a shift in priorities and different ways of looking at things, if you were kind of aligned with some of the policies and people who are no longer on council, you might not want to block the people who opted for change,” she said. “You’d want to get out of the way and let the new council set their direction.”

She said the City Council will appoint an acting city attorney until a permanent replacement can be found. Loveland’s city charter does not require that appointee to be a current employee of the city attorney’s office, she said.

Garcia is on medical leave, Marsh said. Deputy city attorney Vince Junglas represented the city attorney’s office during Tuesday’s meeting.

A spokeswoman for the city attorney’s office confirmed Garcia’s proposed departure date Wednesday but would not reveal the nature of Garcia’s medical issue and said he planned to be back in the office on Thursday. She said the office staff learned of Garcia’s decision Tuesday.

Yost said “the rumor that this decision is due to medical needs is false.”

At his Dec. 12 performance review, held during an open City Council meeting instead of an executive session at Garcia’s request, he highlighted his office’s accomplishments over the past year, including its work on council-directed ordinances regarding panhandling, abandoned property and camping — as well as his work on the city’s hotly debated urban-renewal plan and financial agreement for the proposed Centerra South development.

However, he came under intense fire from Marsh, who called Garcia’s work on Centerra South “the poorest legal advice” the council ever had been given, and new council member and fellow attorney Troy Krenning, who a week before alleged “past collusion” between Garcia and McWhinney Real Estate Services Inc., developer of the Centerra projects on Loveland’s eastern edge. Krenning said he wanted Garcia to be fired but, without the votes to win the termination, introduced a motion to cut the city attorney’s annual salary from $215,000 to the same $160,000 that was specified in Garcia’s first contract with the city in 2018.

After council members Dana Foley, Patrick McFall, Steve Olson and Andrea Samson defended Garcia, Mayor Pro Tem Jon Mallo amended what he called Krenning’s “punitive” motion and offered Garcia a $15,000 pay cut that would take effect during the first pay period this month, reversing a 13% raise Garcia won in January 2023. The council voted 6-3 to approve that pay cut.

Dallas Heltzell
With BizWest since 2012 and in Colorado since 1979, Dallas worked at the Longmont Times-Call, Colorado Springs Gazette, Denver Post and Public News Service. A Missouri native and Mizzou School of Journalism grad, Dallas started as a sports writer and outdoor columnist at the St. Charles (Mo.) Banner-News, then went to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch before fleeing the heat and humidity for the Rockies. He especially loves covering our mountain communities.
Sign up for BizWest Daily Alerts

Related Content