After weeks of debate, the Colorado Springs City Council says it won't fight the $1.15 million severance package promised to Memorial Hospital's former CEO, Larry McEvoy.
City council president Scott Hente said Monday that it would cost just as much or more to fight the legality of the payout in court.
"I can't stress enough, every member of council is personally and professionally repulsed by this, but sometimes you just do what you have to do and you just move forward," Hente said after an executive session council meeting.
But the fact remains, the former Memorial Hospital board told council about the deal before it was finalized. Hente said he remembers hearing about 18 months severance, but no dollar figure. He said he's asked himself, "only about a hundred times" why he didn't speak up in protest.
"When it was sprung on us, and it was such a total surprise, I think we were kind of shell shocked maybe," Hente said.
He said he wasn't sure if, at that point, council could have stopped the agreement because some paperwork had already been signed.
After public outcry about the severance, council decided to get rid of the Memorial board. According to an email obtained by KRDO Newschannel 13, board chair Jim Moore quietly finalized the severance deal with McEvoy the night before he was fired.
"I still wish I knew the motivation of the previous board and I don't," said Hente.
KRDO Newschannel 13 asked Hente what was being done to prevent something like this in the future. A new board has been selected, but that board still has complete authority over the hospital and there are no council members on the board.
He said council is working on a way to get better advance notification from the board about its decisions.
"I think part of the problem here was, if we had had some advance notification, there could have been some interventions prior to what happened," Hente said.
McEvoy has already received the six months of severance, $335,005, that was promised to him in the contract he signed when he started working as CEO of Memorial. The rest of the money and benefits he got through negotiations with the former Memorial board when they mutually decided that McEvoy would leave. It's not clear yet when that part of the package will be paid out.