LETTERS TO THE EDITOR 6-6-24

Mayor and City Council,

I have been hearing reports about the reasons for my recent termination as Cultural Arts Manager that are not true and I feel it necessary to respond. There are three sides to every story and it is time for me to tell mine. 

The actions I took on the evening of March 30th at the Curtis Center were not malicious. The fire alarm went off inadvertently, as had often happened in the past, moments before opening the doors for a reception. After checking to make sure there was not a real issue, I simply disconnected the wires to get the alarm to stop so that the event could continue. I had to make a quick judgement call and never intended or expected for my actions to cause such a problem with the system. With over 150 artists and attendees waiting to get into the Curtis Center and over $1000 worth of catering, I had to make a split decision. 

It is unfortunate and I take responsibility that past issues with the fire alarm were not in writing. However, these issues go back to when Don Wright was the Facility Managers and before there were written requests for maintenance assistance. Usually when the alarm would go off, staff learned that if you pushed enough buttons, the alarm would go silent. For some reason, that did not work on the evening of March 30. Suzanne Moore interrogated past and current staff and they all corroborated my story about the system and the fact that it would often go off for no reason. If she would have dug a little deeper she would have also found at least three instructors that had issues with it while teaching classes on a weekend.  Even our new Administrative Assistant, Pari Moghadam, has stated that the system has gone off four to six times since she started her position in October of 2023. If the alarm had gone off on a Wednesday afternoon or we had not had issues with it in the past, I would have taken a different course of action on March 30.

I have also heard that it has been reported that it took me ten days to communicate the issue and the actions I took. If this is what is being said, it is not true. Matt Hutchins was informed that evening and even came to the Curtis Center the night of the reception so that he could evaluate the system and see what actions I had taken. By Wednesday of the following week, at least three technicians had come to look at the system and determine a future course of action. I was not privy to those conversations and after that the responsibility of the next steps and communication were Matt’s. I never tried to hide the actions I took on March 30. On a side note, I want to give kudos to Matt Hucthins. Until Matt stepped into his current role Curtis Center staff felt that there was little concern about the maintenance of the center. Staff often had to sweep and mop the floors, clean bathrooms, change light bulbs and sometimes shoveled snow. Matt has shown true interest and concern in treating the Curtis Center with as much respect and attention as other City buildings. He has upgraded systems, put efforts into keeping the Curtis Center clean and has been very attentive regarding any maintenance requests. He is truly an asset to the City. 

I feel that I was treated unfairly in this process. In my tenure with the City of Greenwood Village, I had never received any disciplinary action or complaint from staff or community members. In fact, I received glowing annual reviews every year for my efforts. For almost eight years, I put my heart and soul into raising the stature of the Cultural Arts Program for the City of Greenwood Village. Along with Curtis Center staff and a team of others, we increased awareness and attendance at the Curtis Center, developed signature events and created a welcoming environment and a sense of place for the community. Through our efforts the Curtis Center is now a well respected hub for the arts in the Denver metro area. It is unfortunate that one split second judgment call had to take these achievements away from me. 

I do not need or expect a response to my email. I just felt it was important to tell my side of the story,

Respectfully, 

Chris Stevens