May 31, 2011
Sue Skiffington-Blumberg, who has been the voice of the city of Colorado Springs for the past decade as manager of public communications, is the first casualty at City Hall under the Bach administration.
Skiffington-Blumberg, who had heard weeks ago that her job might be on the chopping block, was asked Tuesday to submit her resignation, which she did.
(Who's on the chopping block under the Bach administration? Vote in poll.)
“What she revealed to us (afterward) in our staff meeting was that the new mayor had in mind a direction for public communications and didn’t feel as though she was the right person to lead in that effort, that he had a new leader in mind,” said John Leavitt, who works in public communications.
But Laura Carno, a spokeswoman for Mayor-elect Steve Bach, said Bach had “nothing at all” to do with Skiffington-Blumberg’s resignation. Bach was advised of her resignation by acting City Manager Steve Cox, Carno said.
Cox had a brief, closed-door meeting with Skiffington-Blumberg Tuesday morning, Leavitt said.
“As far as I know, it was very straightforward. He just said, ‘There’s no easy way to break this news to you,’” Leavitt said,
Cox did not return requests for comments.
Skiffington-Blumberg’s resignation comes after she told The Gazette that former City Manager Penelope Culbreth-Graft ordered her “to paint a picture of the dire straits” of the city budget in the news media following the defeat of a proposed property tax increase.
Her resignation also comes on the heels of another high-profile departure: Mike Kazmierski, who resigned last week as president and CEO of the Colorado Springs Regional Economic Development Corp.
Bach, who will have broad new powers as the city’s first strong mayor, said he didn’t have anything to do with Kazmierski’s resignation, either.
Skiffington-Blumberg, who was paid $116,359 a year, declined to go into specifics about her resignation, but she said the request to resign came from Cox.
“I’m an at-will employee, so it is not for personal cause. There’s nothing I’m doing wrong,” she said. “They just don’t have a position for me in the new (strong-mayor) model that they’re setting up and moving forward.”
Skiffington-Blumberg encouraged Springs residents to get behind Bach and his administration.
“I absolutely will be rooting from a different chair because I hope this new form of government and the new players we have succeed at the highest levels, and I sincerely mean that,” she said.
“I’ll be anxiously waiting what that’s going to look like because I obviously have had a vested interest in it for the last 10 years, but I say, ‘Full speed ahead,’” she said.