Glenwood to pay arts teachers $20K in back wages; center to leave city building
August 24, 2017
Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts teachers have gone months without back pay for their services. That’s about to change.
During a special meeting Tuesday night, the Glenwood Springs City Council reached a settlement agreement with the arts center. The city will pay teachers more than $20,000 in back pay. The arts council, which governs the center, will end its city contract and vacate the city-owned former hydroelectric building by the end of the year. That will allow the organization time to liquidate any assets.
The council passed the settlement 5-1, with Councilor Jonathan Godes voting no and Council Rick Voorhees absent.
“I don’t feel that the city should be entering into a relationship between an employee and an employer,” Godes said. He added that it isn’t the government’s role.
The city extended the offer last week after rejecting a counterproposal from arts center attorney Charlie Willman. If the council had denied the offer, legal action was possible, according to a motion drafted by City Attorney Karl Hanlon.
The city has provided about $50,000 to the center annually and rented it space on Sixth Street. The center paid $10 per year for the city-owned property.
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The decision follows months of uncertainty surrounding the center. Former Executive Director Christina Brusig resigned in April.
That month, Glenwood Springs police began investigating the center’s finances. The district attorney is now reviewing material including a financial audit that found possible misappropriation of funds, questionable expenses and weak oversight.
During an Aug. 17 meeting, the council authorized city staff to offer art and dance programs at the Glenwood Springs Community Center and to form an arts and culture advisory board. The council will appoint board members, five of whom are to live in city limits and two others who may reside outside of town but within the 81601 ZIP code, or who own property or a business in the city.