The College Park City Council unanimously voted on Tuesday to ratify the termination of Natasha Hampton as city manager.
Hampton was scheduled to begin the position on June 1, but the city terminated her employment three days before, according to a news release from Hampton’s team. She had already relocated to the city, according to the statement.
During the meeting, Justina Mann, who is on the board of directors of the National Forum for Black Public Administrators — an organization which Hampton is a board member of — asked for more information about Hampton’s termination.
City attorney Suellen Ferguson referred the question to a July 1 statement from the city, which noted the city could not provide further information without Hampton’s consent.
Hampton called in to the meeting and provided her consent verbally, but Ferguson said this consent should have been provided earlier through Hampton’s attorney, who was notified over a week ago.
“We’re not prepared to go into that at this point,” she said.
There are also notable discrepancies between Hampton’s recounting of the events and the city’s.
Hampton’s statement claimed the city informed her she was terminated “without cause,” while the city statement, which was in direct response to the statement from Hampton’s team, said the city had grounds to “terminate for cause.”
She had speculated it was due to her involvement with a confidential settlement on an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission matter with her previous employer. But the city’s statement asserted the termination had nothing to do with Hampton’s EEOC matter or any dispute with her previous employer.
The city states they found discrepancies in the information Hampton provided, and discussed them with her before deciding this issue warranted termination.
“Ms. Hampton has personally been notified on various occasions about what the reason was,” Ferguson added during Tuesday’s meeting.
Additionally, the city’s July 1 statement said the city offered a settlement in writing. The release from Hampton’s team said the settlement had been offered over the phone.
“The City does not offer verbal settlement agreements,” the statement from the city read.
Hampton has filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the city, hoping to get more information about the decision. She would have been the first woman and person of color to fill the city manager position.