Emma Acosta's Agreement (Continued)
by NPT Staff
Posted on March 15, 2005
Additional information related to the City of El Paso's Confidentiality Agreement with Ms. Emma Acosta:
As noted in the previous issue of NPT, the City of El Paso entered into a Confidentiality Agreement with Ms. Emma Acosta on May 25, 2005. At the time of the agreement, Ms. Acosta was the Director of the Solid Waste Department for the City of El Paso. The Confidentiality Agreement and Ms. Acosta's Release of All Claims were presented as a matter of public record in the previous issue of NPT. NPT had also requested the additional records noted below, each of which relates to Ms. Acosta's departure from the City.
1. NPT requested a copy of Ms. Acosta's Retirement Letter, which is referred to in Ms. Acosta's Release of All Claims. According to the Retirement Letter, Ms. Acosta's retirement was "expressly contingent upon the receipt of a gross annual pension benefit of $90,000.00 on the effective date of [her] retirement." However, in order to achieve such pension benefit, Ms. Acosta's salary had to be adjusted for a period of thirty days prior to her retirement. Ms. Acosta was required to use her accrued leave for that period of time, and was to then retire upon the 31st day of receiving the "new salary" from the City of El Paso. This Retirement Letter is attached below.
2. NPT requested records identifying Ms. Acosta's compensation for the months of April and June of 2004 in order to provide the information necessary to identify the difference between her salary prior to the settlement and the "new salary" noted above. For the five pay periods provided by the City (the period of April 11 - April 25 was not provided), Ms. Acosta received bi-weekly earnings ranging between $2,156.85 (for the period ending July 3, 2004) and $4,220.08 (for the period ending June 19, 2004). Of note are the different types of pay, including Administrative Leave, Regular Pay and Holiday Pay. These Pay Summaries are attached below.
3. As noted in the last issue of NPT, the question of whether Mr. Jim A. Martinez was authorized to execute the Confidentiality Agreement on behalf of the City of El Paso was presented. In an effort to answer this question, NPT requested the evidence of such authority through an open records request presented to the City as follows:
A copy of the motion, resolution or other document(s) evidencing the authority of Mr. Martinez to execute this confidentiality agreement with Emma Acosta on behalf of the City of El Paso. (According to the recently released "Confidentiality Agreement" between Emma Acosta and Jim A. Martinez, a violation of the agreement by Mayor Joe Wardy, Mr. Martinez, Lisa A. Elizondo, Laura Uribarri or Adrian Ocequeda provided Ms. Acosta with "the right to institute a claim or suit against the City of El Paso to collect liquidated damages in the amount of $5,000.00...")
The City's response to this particular request consisted of copies of two motions authorizing either "the appropriate City Attorney" or "the City Attorney's Office" to settle lawsuits and claims. Also granted by these motions was the authority of such attorney "to sign all necessary settlement documents on behalf of the City". However, at the date of this agreement, Mr. Martinez was the Interim Chief Administrative Officer of the City, not an attorney for the City. In fact, the signature block for Mr. Martinez clearly states that he was signing as the Interim Chief Administrative Officer. Therefore, and despite the City's response to this request, it is still unclear as to what authority the Interim Chief Administrative Officer possessed in executing this Confidentiality Agreement. These Motions are attached below.
The following documents are thus presented as public record:
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