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No settlement reached: Time for ex-employees to accept offers passes with no response

A settlement has not been reached in the court case involving Boulder City and two former employees.

In June, City Council approved monetary offers for former City Attorney Steve Morris and former City Manager Al Noyola in their case accusing the city, Mayor Kiernan McManus and Councilwoman Tracy Folda of violating the open meeting law and breaching a covenant of good faith and fair dealing when they were fired in October.

The offer for Morris was $270,000, inclusive of attorney fees, costs, expenses and interest. Noyola’s offer was for $290,000. Once sent to their attorneys, Morris and Noyola had 14 days to accept them.

“Mr. Noyola and Mr. Morris did not respond to the offers of judgment and the time to accept them has expired,” said City Attorney Brittany Walker. “Accordingly, no settlement has been reached.”

“Mr. Noyola is always open to reasonable discussions to reach a mutually agreeable settlement,” said Jeffrey F. Barr, his attorney.

Morris and Noyola were fired Oct. 13 “for cause” in a 4-1 vote by City Council.

Their contracts stipulate if they left for any reason other than “voluntarily” resigning, violating a material term of the contract or being convicted of a gross misdemeanor or felony, each would receive a severance package of nine months of salary paid in a lump sum that also includes 100 percent of the city’s contributions to the Public Employees Retirement System, group insurance benefit, cellular phone and auto allowance, and full amount of any accrued paid time off.

Noyola’s payout would total $234,613.97, and Morris’ payout would be $259,458.15. They have not been paid any of that money.

In addition to settlements or severance packages that may be paid, the city has already spent $297,763.14 on legal fees to Las Vegas law firm Bailey Kennedy, which was hired Aug. 12 to help represent it in this case, according to Walker.

Walker said that in late 2020, the city also retained the law firm of Litchfield Cavo through Pool Pact to serve as co-counsel. That representation is part of the city’s Pool Pact insurance policy.

Morris and Noyola’s complaint was filed in Nevada’s Eighth District Court. Recently, Judge Jessica K. Peterson stayed all of its claims until the Nevada Supreme Court decides on the appeals.

On May 8, she awarded the city, McManus and Folda $81,888.42 in attorney fees and costs. There is a hearing scheduled for July 27 to reconsider the amount of fees awarded to the city; it was requested by the city.

Contact reporter Celia Shortt Goodyear at cgoodyear@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9401. Follow her on Twitter @csgoodyear.

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