Settlement sheds little light on former police commander’s resignation; city calls for investigation into complaints
After Steamboat Pilot & Today submitted a records request through the Colorado Open Records Act, the city of Steamboat Springs on Monday released the settlement agreement between itself and former Steamboat Springs Police Cmdr. Annette Dopplick, who resigned in April.
According to the settlement, the city paid Dopplick a total of $108,295.21, with severance of $89,955.65, $10,771.40 in lieu of a contribution to Dopplick’s retirement account and COBRA-related expenses of $7,586.16.
While the settlement still did not provide specific details surrounding Dopplick’s resignation, it does state the city will conduct an investigation into allegations made by Dopplick relating to her working conditions and employment with the city, as well as the working conditions of other female officers employed by the city. The settlement also states Dopplick will cooperate with such investigations.
In a news release from the city after Pilot & Today’s first CORA request, Dopplick said she hopes the city continues its efforts toward diversity, equity and inclusion.
“It has been my privilege to serve the community of Steamboat Springs,” Dopplick said in the release. “I am profoundly sad at the circumstances that have led to my resignation, and I am hopeful that the city will act on their stated objective of inclusion, diversity and equity.”
Dopplick has made no further comment.
In addition to her time in Steamboat, Dopplick served as Kremmling’s interim police chief from June to September 2020.
Prior to the city announcing Dopplick’s departure, Steamboat Springs City Council members met in two closed sessions citing negotiations with an employee as the reason for meeting behind closed doors, with City Attorney Dan Foote, first March 29, then April 13.
In response to Pilot & Today’s first records request, the city clerk said the record that was requested — a settlement between Dopplick’s attorney and the city — did not exist. Pilot & Today filed the same records request again May 4. The city’s communications department then sent a news release Monday containing the settlement.
“We take all comments and concerns from our staff seriously,” City Manager Gary Suiter said in Monday’s release. “As this is a personnel issue, we won’t be publicly discussing this particular matter further.”
When Steamboat Springs Police Chief Cory Christensen was hired in November 2015, he was tasked with changing the culture of the agency that had been the focus of an outside investigation, which found evidence the city’s former top cops presided over a hostile work environment. In particular, the investigation revealed instances of hazing, bullying and gender-based harassment that likely occurred for more than a decade, according to findings.
While Christensen said he could not comment specifically on Dopplick resigning from her position, he did say he believed the department is always striving to improve its diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.
“I feel we, as a team, have been working hard on DEI,” he said in an interview. “I feel there is more work to be done, and we continue to move forward to best represent our community.”
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