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Colorado Springs chief of staff announces resignation

Colorado Springs chief of staff announces resignation

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Chief of Staff Laura Neumann has resigned from her position with the city of Colorado Springs.

Neumann, Mayor Steve Bach's right-hand woman, told KRDO NewsChannel 13 that her decision is strictly personal.  She accepted the position in December 2011 and was not under a contract.

"I said to Mayor Bach, 'I think I've accomplished most of what I've set out to do for you as chief of staff and I think it's time for me to spend time with my children,'" Neumann said.  

Neumann stepped into her position just as Colorado Springs changed to a strong-mayor form of government.  She says she didn't know what she was getting herself into.

"It has been like a wild, bucking bull since the day I started," Neumann said.  

The council-mayor form of government has been criticized for its constant arguments and struggles for power.  Neumann insists her resignation has nothing to do with that and she stands behind Bach.

"There was a lot of stress and bickering and posturing, but ultimately, it really was just noise to me," she said.  "I focused on the business to the best of my ability and had to make a very personal decision."

Since Bach has taken office, at least a dozen department heads have stepped down or been fired.  Bach's been criticized over the years for doling out severance packages and bonuses to city employees at the taxpayer's expense.

Neumann says she won't be getting a payout or bonus and that the constant city government changes are to be expected.  A change in leadership and vision, often means a change in staffing, she said.  Though she says, in her case, she was on board with the vision and is stepping down to spend more time volunteering and being with her children.

Steve Cox will replace Neumann.  He is returning to the city after retiring in July 2012 as chief of economic vitality.  He's also served as the city's fire chief and Bach's inaugural chief of staff in 2011.

Neumann calls Cox wise, steady and fair.

"I learned from him so I can't think of a better person to come back during this time and be chief of staff," she said.

Neumann's last day will be March 1.

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