Councilwoman Jeannine Pearce hired her former chief of staff for consulting work immediately after he was let go from the city amid turmoil between the two, documents show.
Campaign finance paperwork filed Monday shows Pearce paid Devin Cotter $2,250 on May 4 for “strategic policy consulting” between February and April. The funds were paid out of her officeholder account, a pot of money that comes from political contributions and is designed to help pay for expenses of holding elected office.
Cotter’s termination of employment with the city, however, came at the councilwoman’s request months earlier, according to the city attorney’s office, which executed an agreement with Cotter in December that placed him on paid leave and cut ties between he and Pearce. He resigned effective Feb. 1.
In a phone interview Tuesday, Pearce said she briefly retained Cotter in the spring to finalize policy work regarding a short-term rental item he started while he was still employed with the city. He also did some fund-raising work for her office, she said.
“This was just for work that was done as my office was transitioning to a new chief of staff,” Pearce said.
When asked why she hired a former staffer who she had requested be terminated, Pearce said she could not comment on the terms of Cotter’s separation.
Cotter was paid for his employment with the city through Feb. 1, City Attorney Charles Parkin said, and no further payments were approved after that. Though Parkin said he was unaware Pearce hired Cotter after his separation, he…
click here to read more.