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WESTMINSTER, Colo. — Details about a hefty severance package for former Westminster City Manager Don Tripp are now coming to light following a public records request.
The information shows, and the a spokesperson for the city confirmed, that Tripp's salary and severance totaled $380,000. That package is in addition to a cash leave amount of $75,524 for city employees.
The total compensation package after Tripp resigned amounts to $455,000 — money that will come out of the city's general fund.
Tripp resigned earlier this month a day after the city announced its police chief resigned amid a workplace review that found policy violations committed during his tenure, The Denver Post reported.
When Contact Denver7 asked the spokesperson for the city for a statement or interview, he responded that the city does not comment on personnel matters.
“I think if I were them I wouldn’t want to answer these questions either. It’s embarrassing and appalling and their names are behind it," said Sandy Pospisil, a Westminster resident.
Mayor Anita Seitz also declined an interview and referred Denver7 back to the spokesperson. Denver7 also tried to reach city council members but they either ignored requests for comment or declined interviews.
"I think it’s ridiculous. It’s way beyond what it should be," said Bill Christopher who retired as Westminster city manager in 2001 after a 23-year career with the city.
Christopher said he realizes a lot has changed since 2001 and he understands the city's need to keep up with inflation. But he said he still can't make sense of the deal.
“My salary at that time was $125,000 and I had a six-month severance package. Mr. Tripp had a 12-month severance package, he had a $750 a month car allowance," said Christopher.
Westminster residents had previously voiced concerns about skyrocketing water bills and say this development regarding the severance package is only adding to their frustrations with the city.
"As we’ve gone through the pandemic and lots of our residents have lost jobs, it’s appalling to think that’s what would be given to an individual to cease working for the city of Westminster," said Sharon Harrison, a Westminster resident who was involved in the campaign to bring attention to water bills.
Westminster held a recall election earlier this year and that effort was spurred by residents like Harrison and Pospisil who took issue with the water rates. During that election, residents overwhelmingly voted for Jon Voelz to keep his seat on city council.