Green Mountain Falls’ elected leaders hope to select a new marshal by mid-August, ending a lengthy pursuit that began last spring.
However, it could be another month before the head law officer can start patrolling the streets and manning the lake.
“It is not moving as fast as we would like, but we are moving ahead,” said Mayor Jane Newbery. “We are excited.” She admitted that the process has encountered a few hurdles stemming from a variety of regulations and restrictions surrounding the hiring of head law officer. Even after the board selects a finalist, that person must undergo a 21-day investigative period during which background checks occur. Previously, the search process got bogged down over the formalities of the job application compiled by town officials.
A marshal selection committee, consisting of Newberry, Trustee David Cook and a number of citizens, will start conducting interviews on Aug. 5. The field now has been reduced to slightly less than nine candidates. Initially, the town received about 22 applicants for the job, which pays between $36,500 and $40,500.
Surprisingly, the position has sparked much interest, with many contenders from small communities in Colorado and outside the state. “There is a lot of interest in this job,” admitted Newberry. At one point, the town received more than 40 letters of interest, which is highly uncommon for Green Mountain Falls.
The town was left without any law enforcement personnel last April. Former Marshal Tim Bradley and his entire staff quit, following the municipal election, which represented a big victory for a group of trustee and mayoral challengers that dubbed themselves Smoother Roas Ahead for GMF. This group wanted to scrutinize the expenses of the marshal’s department more, and several of its members frequently clashed with Bradley.
This law-less plight attracted considerable media attention, with GMF receiving national notoriety from major media outlets, such as the Washington Post.
But according to Newberry, the town has received excellent cooperation from agencies in the area, such as the El Paso County Sheriff’s Department.
Newberry said the committee hopes to do its interviews in the next week, and then have the board name a marshal on Aug. 16.
Whoever gets picked will head a marshal’s department and not a police force. In an earlier meeting, town leaders decided to do away with its identification as a police department, seeking to restore the old-fashioned rural image of a town marshal.
The town has been heavily divided over the future of the marshal’s department, with some residents even favoring contracting law enforcement duties with another agency. But many residents don’t favor this approach, citing concerns over burglaries, code violations and people driving too fast.
New Town Manager in the Works
The government face of Green Mountain Falls may also change soon and include a new town manager, at least on a temporary basis.
An administrative committee, with the help of the state Department of Local Affairs (DOLA), is working towards selecting an interim town manager. This position, though, would be determined by the probability of a grant through the state. Committee members are optimistic about their grant prospects. Clay Brown, a regional director for DOLA, is a member of the town’s administrative committee. Brown played a pivotal role in garnering funds for the construction of a new town hall for Green Mountain Falls. Brown also was involved in the area for previous plans to revitalize Victor..
The interim town manager, who would only fill this position for several months, would identify the community’s needs.
The idea that has been gaining traction by committee members is to select a new city clerk/town manager combined position, especially in lieu of the town’s limited finances. That way, the additional personnel costs would be minimal.
According to committee member Dick Bratton, Green Mountain Falls may be able snag another grant to pay part of the salary for a future town manager. But this assistance would only occur for a certain period. Bratton, though, said committee members are a little concerned about the overall costs associated with this position.
The idea of a town manager has been explored in the past, and for a very brief period, a trustee board selected former public workd director Rob McArthur as the head city boss. But following the election of 2014, this position was eliminated and the town wanted to get the trustees more involved in the operations of the GMF government.