Outgoing county manager will receive $67,500 in severance
Grand County’s manager is set to receive a $67,500 severance package after county commissioners suddenly terminated her contract earlier this month.
According to Kate McIntire’s employment agreement, obtained by Sky-Hi News through an open records request, the outgoing county manager will receive six months’ salary following a 45-day termination notice.
On Dec. 3, the Grand County Commissioners voted 2-1 to end McIntire’s employment after 21 months with the county.
The commissioners would not give a specific reason for terminating McIntire’s contract during the public hearing after McIntire declined to have the discussion in private, which is her right under Colorado law.
Commissioner Rich Cimino called the special meeting, during which he and Kris Manguso voted in favor of ending McIntire’s contract. Merrit Linke dissented, expressing unease with the process.
McIntire’s contract allows for her employment with the county to be terminated for any reason as long as a 45-day notice is given, but doing so means the county will have to pay her a $67,500 severance package.
Had commissioners terminated the contract under a number of scenarios, McIntire would not be entitled to the severance. Such scenarios could have been the county manager repeatedly failing to perform her required duties, being convicted of a felony, or violating the commission’s established standards and rules related to employment, but no such infractions were cited.
McIntire did not respond to an emailed request for comment. Over the phone Friday, Cimino declined to give specifics about the reasons for the termination.
“There were definitely performance issues,” Cimino said. “We do want to protect our former employees and allow them the best opportunities to have future careers.”
As for the severance, Cimino explained the amount was typical for a county manager contract and referenced the fact that Fraser’s town manager, who resigned from his position in November, received a nine-month severance package.
“It is a significant amount of money, but it was in the contract,” Cimino said. “It was standard. But we need all of our county team performing at a very high level. We knew that if that wasn’t the case that we would make a change and that would be the cost of that change.”
County commissioners appointed Assistant County Manger Ed Moyer the acting county manager on Dec. 8. Cimino said Moyer will likely stay on as acting manager in January, when the board annually appoints a number of statutory positions.
Cimino went on to say that the board has no immediate plans to hire either a new county manager or assistant manager. He said the decision would be made sometime in the new year.
As Grand County navigates the COVID-19 pandemic and the rebuilding efforts following the East Troublesome Fire, turnover has been evidenced by the loss of three department heads over the last three months.
Just days after McIntire’s firing, Grand County Public Health Director Brene Belew-Ladue announced she would be stepping down citing, in part, a lack of support from the county commissioners. The county is expected to discuss specifics of her replacement at Tuesday’s meeting.
In September, less than a month before the East Troublesome Fire burned down hundreds of homes in Grand County, Emergency Manager Kat Conrad left her role after less than a year on the job. No reasons were provided for Conrad’s sudden departure. Joel Cochran was hired as emergency manager in early November.
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A project that the Grand Fire Protection District has planned for since 2004 could begin soon.