In response to Ms. Natasha Hampton’s press release dated June 28, 2021, the City of College Park issues the following statement.
The Mayor and City Council were very pleased to announce on May 4, 2021, the selection of Ms. Natasha Hampton as the new City Manager. Unfortunately, prior to her start date of June 1, 2021, the Mayor and City Council were made aware of certain discrepancies in the information Ms. Hampton had provided to the City. For several weeks, staff from Baker Tilly (the City’s consultant for the recruitment of the City Manager position) and City representatives discussed these issues directly with Ms. Hampton, her attorney at that time, and others to verify certain information and to try to understand these discrepancies.
Ultimately, the Mayor and City Council determined that these issues and discrepancies justified termination for cause. The Council attempted to negotiate an agreement to end the employment amicably and quickly via a confidential settlement agreement, in part to minimize any adverse effect on Ms. Hampton. However, because Ms. Hampton has publicly discussed these private settlement negotiations in a press release, the City must now respond in public to correct what has been said.
The City states unequivocally that the termination had nothing to do with any EEOC matter or any dispute with her previous employer, the City of Rocky Mount, NC, concerning that EEOC claim. The City also wants to clarify that Ms. Hampton’s statement that she is “baffled as to why the City violated a legal agreement by sharing it with the press,” refers to an alleged violation by the City of Rocky Mount, not the City of College Park.
Ms. Hampton was informed by telephone on May 29, 2021, that her employment would be terminated; that it was the City’s intent to attempt to end the relationship by agreement on an amicable basis; and that a proposed settlement agreement would follow, even though the Council had grounds to terminate for cause. The City does not offer verbal settlement agreements. The offer of settlement from the City was in writing, was sent to Ms. Hampton on June 1, 2021 and was not as Ms. Hampton describes in her press release.
Unfortunately, Ms. Hampton rejected that offer and the parties did not reach an agreement. Because the offer and agreement were rejected, the City Attorney informed Mr. John Singleton (Ms. Hampton’s current attorney) that the City would formally vote to terminate Ms. Hampton’s employment for cause pursuant to her employment agreement with the City.
The Council regrets that this is the direction that events have taken, and that this was not resolved through private negotiation. As Ms. Hampton noted in her statement, the City has received and is processing her extensive request for documents and communications pertaining to the recruitment. The City will respond in compliance with the Maryland Public Information Act requirements.
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