John ColsonGlenwood Springs Post IndependentAspen, CO, Colorado

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January 8, 2013
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Stan Jensen's severance was about three times what contract allowed

GLENWOOD SPRINGS - The $500,000 severance payment to former Colorado Mountain College President Stan Jensen was approximately three times what he normally would have been entitled to, according to a review of Jensen's employment contracts from 2008 through 2012.Attorney Tim Whitsitt, who was hired in December by the CMC board of directors specifically for employment issues, confirmed Monday that Jensen would have been entitled to slightly more than $149,000 in a salary payout on the day he resigned, plus coverage of health-insurance premiums for nine months, under the terms of his normal contract."It was nine months of pay and nine months of medical-insurance premiums," Whitsitt said Monday, adding that he was not sure of the value of Jensen's monthly health-insurance benefits.Jensen was earning $198,800 per year when he resigned, along with a package of perks and benefits worth more than $72,000 a year.Jensen had been president of the six-county college district since March 2008. He resigned Dec. 27 during a telephone conference call with the college's board of trustees after weeks of negotiations.As part of a mostly secret separation agreement, Jensen received severance pay of $500,000, which is more than 2 1/2 times the amount he was earning annually during his last year on the job.He also was paid half his annual salary, $99,400, for his six months of work in the 2012-13 fiscal year, which started July 1 and ends June 30, Whitsitt said.College officials, citing a confidentiality clause in the separation agreement, have said very little about Jensen's resignation.

A review of Jensen's 2008 contract and annual contract amendments from 2009 through 2012 reveal a growing package of benefits. CMC's general-counsel law firm - Beattie, Chadwick & Houpt, of Glenwood Springs - released the contracts and amendments in response to a request filed by the Post Independent under the state's open-records law.The latest contract amendment, dated July 1, extended Jensen's contract through June 30, 2014.Jensen's benefits package included:• Performance pay, essentially a bonus, of as much as 10 percent of his base pay. The actual bonus was to be determined by the college trustees, following a complex scoring system laid out in the contract. In 2012, Jensen's performance pay came to just more than $9,000.• Annual contributions to Jensen's tax-sheltered annuity plan of $17,000 to $18,000 a year, for a total of about $68,600 over his four years as president.• An annual housing allowance that started out at $21,600 in 2008 and jumped to $36,000 starting in 2011. • Health-insurance premiums for Jensen and his wife, starting in 2011.• A car for business and for personal use "incidental to college business," with all fuel and maintenance costs covered by the college.• As much as $10,000 per year routed through the Colorado Mountain College Foundation, the fundraising arm of the college district. Whitsitt said that money was for Jensen's work in association with the CMC Foundation rather than his duties for the college itself.The dollar values of the health-insurance coverage and the car weren't available. A total of the other benefits Jensen was under contract to receive by 2012 adds up to $73,000.jcolson@postindependent.com


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The Aspen Times Updated Jan 8, 2013 07:53AM Published Jan 8, 2013 01:30AM Copyright 2013 The Aspen Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.