State paid thousands to head of CSP after investigation, retirement announcement

2:06 AM, Feb 7, 2013   |    comments
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LAKEWOOD - The head of the Colorado State Patrol was paid $90,000 as part of a settlement days after he announced he was retiring, 9Wants to Know has confirmed. Chief James Wolfinbarger's retirement announcement came after a personnel investigation.

Wolfinbarger told 9Wants to Know Wednesday night that he agreed to leave so the department could bring in new leadership. Wolfinbarger said the personnel investigation did not return any significant findings and was not a factor in his retirement.

The 9Wants to Know investigators learned of the payout last week and confirmed it by requesting records under the Colorado Open Records Act. Wolfinbarger had a contract through the middle of 2013. Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper said Wednesday the money for was for a settlement.

"In him leaving, they negotiated a settlement for what we felt was a fair compensation for existing obligations," Governor John Hickenlooper told 9Wants to Know.

Records 9Wants to Know received Wednesday afternoon show the Department of Public Safety and Wolfinbarger agreed his departure was best for the department.

Wolfinbarger announced his resignation Jan. 11 in an email to staff.

He was paid $90,000 on Jan. 14.

His resignation took affect Jan. 31.

Other records released to the 9Wants to Know investigators indicate Wolfinbarger was paid $11,250 gross on a monthly basis or $135,000 per year.

In addition to the $90,000 paid in mid-January, Wolfinbarger received $33,057.69 on Jan. 31. That included his monthly salary and unused leave, according to information released to 9NEWS after an open records request. That was his last payment, according to an email to 9NEWS from Colorado Department of Public Safety spokesman Lance Clem.

Wolfinbarger joined the Colorado State Patrol in 1995. He became chief in 2009.

Lt. Col. Scott Hernandez is serving as acting chief.

Have a comment or tip for investigative reporter Jace Larson? Call him at 303-871-1432 or e-mail him

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