COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (CBS4) – Brian McBroom, the city manager for Commerce City since 2012, resigned in June, a month after filing a legal notice with the city that he might sue his city over the actions of Mayor Benjamin Huseman. McBroom claims Huseman defamed, slandered him, badmouthed him around the city and acted unprofessionally.
The notice of intent to sue was filed May 26, 2020 when McBroom was still the city manager. He claimed Huseman had engaged in a five month campaign to “oust Mr. McBroom from the City of Commerce City,” according to the notice.
Through his attorney, McBroom declined to comment to CBS4.
But in his demand letter, McBroom claimed Huseman was “blind cc’ing” a former Commerce City Mayor on emails that were “very critical of the job Mr. McBroom was doing for the city.”
The letter, obtained by CBS4, lists half a dozen other accusations against Huseman suggesting inappropriate and unprofessional conduct.
Sam Mamet, former executive director of the Colorado Municipal League, which assists towns and cities with strategy, planning and operational guidance, told CBS4 it was “very rare” for a city manager to file a legal notice and threaten to sue his current employer while still on the job.
“I can’t ever think when this has occurred,” said Mamet. “It doesn’t happen often.”
But the threat of a lawsuit yielded results.
On June 15, Commerce City council voted 5-4 to accept McBroom’s resignation while paying him more than $200,000. Of that, about $162,000 represented nine months of salary, $26,000 for unused leave time and $15,000 in insurance benefit costs.
In the June 15 city council meeting, several council members spoke out against the settlement and what it represented.
Councilman Jose Guardiola said, “I won’t be supporting this.” He went on to say, “Mr. McBroom is not the problem,” and took veiled jabs at Huseman.
“People don’t leave their jobs because they hate their jobs or community. People leave their jobs because of their supervisors, managers and bosses,” said Guardiola. “We have to look in our mirrors. Mr. McBroom is not the problem. He has done everything we have asked.”
Councilmember Meghan Grimes also voted against the resignation deal saying, “I think this is fiscally irresponsible of our council to approve another $200,000 for Mr. McBroom to leave given the circumstances that have led us here.”
Huseman declined to talk to CBS4 instead issuing a written statement saying, “The city made a business decision in regards to the resignation agreement with former City Manager McBroom. While I don’t agree with the statements that Mr. McBroom’s attorney wrote about me, in my opinion, the terms of the resignation are fair and consistent with his employment agreement and lets us move forward to do important work for the city.”
A spokesman for Commerce City said a recruitment firm will help to hire a new city manager, a process which could take months.
McBroom’s intent to sue notice here.
Resignation agreement here.