Green Mountain Falls Picks New Town Hall Boss and Public Works Chief Contract of new manager slated at nearly $50,000 for six months Rick Langenberg

The search for a marshal in Green Mountain Falls may continue for several more months, but local leaders have finalized their selections for a head town boss and a public works chief.
In fact, for the first time in a number of months, GMF this week will operate with nearly a full slate of department heads. The marshal position still reigns as the mystery job, with the deadline slated for Nov. 1 for accepting applicants after a previous search hit an unexpected hurdle.
“Except for the marshal position, things are coming together quite well,” said GMF Mayor Jane Newberry, following last week’s regular meeting.
At their Oct. 4 session, Newberry announced that town leaders have finalized a six-month contract with John Pick for the combined position of town manager/city clerk. Pick is from the Northern Colorado area, previously serving with the city of Northglenn. According to the mayor, he has done similar contract work in managing and supervising town municipalities, a program heavily supported by state officials.
Pick will become GMF’s first-ever town manager/clerk under a new style of government that places him in charge of day-to-day operations and employee hiring and supervision, along with preparing an annual budget, updating ordinances, developing an operational plan for GMF and handling all head clerk responsibilities. An important part of his temporary assignment will be to determine if the head manager/clerk combined position is the right fit for the town.
GMF is taking a slight financial gamble with this move. The contract salary for the position is slated at $48,000 for six months, with the town government picking up about half of the tab. The other half is being paid by the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) under a grant. This program is heavily endorsed by DOLA regional director Clay Brown, who helped orchestrate efforts to foot the bill for the new town hall facility in GMF.
If the system works, GMF may try this on a permanent basis through a potential grant program that would pave the way for the state to help fund the position for three years. The total price tag for this contract has raised a few eyebrows, especially for a town with a small population base like GMF and for a community that only sports a handful of government employees.
Newberry, though, stressed that if the town adopts the town manager/clerk combined position model, it would not pay that high of a salary. She admits that type of compensation is out of the town’s ballpark range. “I can guarantee you that will not be the salary for the manager/clerk position, if we decide to go that way,” said the mayor. She described the current total compensation, estimated at $8,000 per month, as contract-based for a trial period.
The mayor maintained that the trustees would still play an active role in overseeing government operations, but that the traditional trustee/liaison system would go by the wayside. Instead, the new manager would mainly serve as the contact person, if citizens have concerns over certain issues or problems with departments.
The biggest hurdle facing the new town manager could be overcoming past history and GMF’s volatile politics. The town manager system was briefly toyed with several years ago, but was then dismantled following the 2014 municipal election during heavily contested mayoral and trustee races.
Town leaders last week also introduced RJ Viers as their new public works supervisor. He will be paid an annual salary of $40,500, based on the agreement reached with the board of trustees.
Viers, a Florissant resident, previously worked with the city of Buena Vista and ran his own business. He will oversee road maintenance operations, snow removal and many capital improvements.
During a brief introduction, Viers touted his experience in a wide range of road maintenance areas and the public works arena.
That’s important as road maintenance has been a top concern of the new board of trustees, several of whom ran on the platform of “Smoother Roads Ahead for GMF” during the 2016 municipal election. For several months, the town has not had a public works supervisor, since the departure of Michael Cullinane.
And for its 2017 budget, the town plans to pursue major grant opportunities for enhancing the lake and gazebo area and other major capital improvements. Its total public works budget from Dec. 2016 to March 2017 is slated at $531,173, a dramatic increase from past years, based on budget figures presented last week. The total spending budget for this period will soar above the $1.23 million figure, if the town proceeds with certain capital projects.
The board also introduced Dustin Alexander, who will work as a public works assistant. He also is from Florissant. The town is still retaining Jim VanScoten, an experienced blade operator. During last week’s meeting, VanScoten touted Viers and Alexander as great additions to their staff.
As for the marshal position, Newberry stated that the application process will close on Nov. 1. The town previously thought it had a sure pick a month ago, only to discover that their top applicant from North Carolina couldn’t fulfill the testing requirements. As a result, the town must rely on the assistance of neighboring law agencies, such as the Teller and El Paso sheriff departments. But these agencies can’t handle any code violations and aren’t as visible in patrolling GMF, as when the town had its own police department.
Oddly enough, the marshal job has attracted the most attention. According to Newberry, the new town manager will also help in finalizing a marshal pick for the town. The town hasn’t had any local law enforcement presence since mid-April.