Police probe’s cost to city goes well beyond the services of the investigator | CraigDailyPress.com

Police probe’s cost to city goes well beyond the services of the investigator

Scott Franz

The city of Steamboat Springs and its taxpayers have so far spent nearly $300,000 on an internal police investigation and its consequences, according to an analysis of expenses the city released Tuesday in response to an open records request.

The monetary costs are in addition to the human toll exacted by the investigation, which has included the ending of careers and a turnover in the city government.

City costs related to police investigation

•Services of an independent investigator: $59,300

• Services of Interim Police Chief Jerry DeLong: $79,653

• Legal fees for city attorney and city’s insurance company to date: $40,799

• Six months severance pay for former City Manager Deb Hinsvark: $91,000

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• Initial consultation with investigator Heather Coogan: $900

• Services of Karl Gills, special public information officer for investigation: $6,436

• Cost of recruiting a new chief of police: $14,574

Major costs related to the investigation include the $59,300 paid to independent investigator Katherine Nuanes, $79,653 for the services of Interim Police Chief Jerry DeLong and $40,799 paid to City Attorney Tony Lettunich, his law firm and the city’s insurance company for legal services related to the investigation.

The fallout from the investigation also included the resignation of City Manager Deb Hinsvark, who was given a six-month severance package that cost the city $91,000.

Council members have said Hinsvark’s handling of the investigation and her inability to convey its finality to the community eroded council support and was a major factor in her departure.

The city also paid $900 for an initial consultation with another investigator who was taken off the job following controversy, $6,436 for a special public information officer and $14,574 in recruiting costs to find a new police chief following the investigation.

All of these costs associated with the investigation total $292,663.

Some of the costs, including legal fees, were covered with money the city had budgeted.

But other costs that exceeded budget will soon go the Steamboat Springs City Council as a supplemental budget request.

The city was unable to calculate how many hours of staff time the investigation included for such things as interviews and the associated cost of lost work hours.

These figures also do not include the pay of former Deputy police Chief Bob DelValle and police Chief Joel Rae while they were on paid administrative leave.

Neither of the men received a severance package, but together, they were paid $46,551 in paid time off they had accrued throughout their careers.

Departing city employees receive the payout for paid time off they have accrued, per city policy.

City Council is expecting a supplemental budget request Tuesday for costs associated with the investigation that went beyond the city’s budget.

Some city council members and community members have cited the high cost of the investigation as one of the reasons they are currently seeking more information about the probe after a vague summary was released in July.

Some council members said many questions remain unanswered, including the precise scope of the investigation and whether accusations made by former officers were founded.

The 90-day internal investigation was launched in April after a former police detective and a former officer made several serious accusations against Rae and DelValle, including allegations they had presided over a hostile work environment.

Investigator Kathy Nuanes conducted 76 interviews, reviewed more than 47,000 emails and sorted through several pieces of evidence, including audio recordings, as she looked into the accusations.

Three of the Nuanes’ reports — which are thought to focus on what she found out about the management of the department — have been withheld from both the public and the council.

Nuanes’ work schedule and associated expenses were included in itemized bills the city released as a part of Steamboat Today’s records request.

The bills show Nuanes often worked late into the night throughout a period of several days to generate reports about the investigation.

The city charged Steamboat Today $80.25 to fulfill the records request after it took city staff three-and-a-half hours to research and retrieve the information.

The city charges $30 per hour for research and retrieval after the first hour of efforts.

The council will reconsider its recent vote not to release more information about the findings of the investigation Tuesday.

See documents related to the cost of the investigation below.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10

City costs related to police investigation

•Services of an independent investigator: $59,300

• Services of Interim Police Chief Jerry DeLong: $79,653

• Legal fees for city attorney and city’s insurance company to date: $40,799

• Six months severance pay for former City Manager Deb Hinsvark: $91,000

• Initial consultation with investigator Heather Coogan: $900

• Services of Karl Gills, special public information officer for investigation: $6,436

• Cost of recruiting a new chief of police: $14,574

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