The city paid former City Attorney Kirsten Crawford six months’ salary plus benefits upon her resignation in February, three months more than her contract required if she had been fired. In exchange, she agreed to release the city from “any and all actions, claims and demands which exist” as of the date of the agreement.
“This was a personnel matter and we cannot speak about the details,” said City Manager Michael Penny. “What we can clarify is that the city’s insurance company, CIRSA, was involved in this discussion and provided legal advice to the city. This was indeed a voluntary resignation. The city paid three months and CIRSA paid three months. We cannot speak further to the details, as this is a personnel matter and there are no additional comments from the city.”
Penny released the “Resignation and Severance Agreement” March 14. It waives the requirement that Crawford give 45 days’ notice, forbids her from ever applying for any position with the city, and makes her promise confidentiality.
Crawford signed the agreement on Feb. 5, the same day she submitted a letter of resignation to Mayor Debbie Brinkman.
“I have been honored to serve the residents of the city of Littleton and to work for the city,” Crawford wrote. “For personal reasons, however, I have decided to resign my employment as city attorney (immediately). I wish the city success in the future.”
The announcement came 10 days after Crawford was placed on paid administrative leave, apparently at her request, following an hour-long city council executive session.
On Jan. 29, Brinkman asked Crawford and Penny to wait in another room during their closed-door council meeting. When they reconvened, Councilor Bruce Stahlman moved to place Crawford on leave, pursuant to her request, until further notice. The motion directed her to remain available to the city during normal business hours. Councilor Phil Cernanec seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously. No acting city attorney was named.
“I respect Kirsten’s decision and appreciate her service,” Brinkman said in a Feb. 8 news release. “The city council and I wish her success in her future endeavors.”
Crawford, who has not responded to requests for comment, was appointed city attorney on March 6, 2012, at an annual salary of $133,428. She replaced Suzanne Staiert, whom council fired on the same day she filed an EEOC complaint against the city in September 2011. Staiert went on to become deputy secretary of state.
Council is looking at potentially farming out the job or even the whole legal department to a firm. Penny said the recent turnover might lead potential candidates to view the position as in flux, resulting in less desirable applicants wanting more incentives to take the job. In the meantime, Deputy City Attorney Kristen Schledorn is holding down the fort.