~ by Rick Langenberg ~
Green Mountain Falls leaders have no intention to select an interim town boss, in the wake of the removal of a former head manager.
Instead, GMF elected leaders plan to move full-speed ahead with hiring a new town manager. Plus, they have made it clear they don’t want to retreat to the former liaison system in which individual trustees were in charge of employees and departments.
However, at last week’s trustees meeting, the leaders agreed they need to develop a better process than before, with a more detailed interview and selection system. They are organizing a new selection committee, already consisting of several elected leaders, including the mayor and mayor pro tem, to review potential candidates for the job.
Trustee David Pearlman hinted that the trustees bore some of the responsibility from the latest termination action for not developing better expectations and management goals for the job. “What are we expecting?” asked Pearlman.
This issue was emphasized also by Clay Brown, the regional director of the state Department of Local Affairs (DOLA). During a recent meeting, Brown asked town leaders in a direct fashion about the firing of former town manager Verla Bruner, who only held this position for a little more than six months. He stressed the importance of establishing a better system so this doesn’t happen again, and to have definite goals for the job.
DOLA has been a big proponent of the town manager form of government for cities and towns across the state, even for places as small as Green Mountain Falls. They argue it takes the politics out of running municipal and town governments. Ironically, this system of government is being challenged by a new citizens’ petition mounted in Woodland Park (see related story).
During last week’s meeting, the town trustees mulled a variety of options from hiring an interim manager, to picking one of the persons who previously applied for the job in 2016/2017, to starting from scratch with a new search. Town leaders opted for the latter option, and indicated they have already received several applicants for the job. “I would rather look for a full-time person,” said Mayor Jane Newberry.
She said the town already pursued an interim manager, who developed many recommendations. Now, they need to pursue the idea of a workable town manager/clerk setup.
Deputy Town Clerk Renee Price, who mans the town hall office, echoed similar sentiments. She said an interim town manager would do nothing but restrict her from doing her job. In a related matter, the trustees agreed to establish regular town hall hours from 8:30 to 5 p.m. from Monday through Thursday, with only afternoon hours available on Wednesday. These are the times the public can expect the town hall to remain open for business.
If necessary, town leaders said they may revisit the idea of getting Price some assistance. The deputy clerk indicated she may just need some help in answering phones and greeting town hall customers.
In their search for a full-time manager, Marshal Virgil Hodges asked the trustees for enough time to provide background checks of the proposed finalists for the job. He hinted that these checks take time, as he often makes detailed inquiries for the benefit of town officials, and these deal with contacting a variety of individuals and former employers.
After a brief discussion, the trustees agreed to pursue full-heartedly with selecting a new town manager. No dates have been provided for bringing a new person on board. However, most trustees say they want to hire someone as soon as possible, but want to get the right person.
New GMF Master Plan
In other news, a joint GMF Planning Commission and Board of Trustees meeting has been scheduled for Jan. 9 for the subject of compiling a new comprehensive master plan for the town. This is a process that normally occurs every 10 years. It grapples with a variety of land use, zoning, community and economic issues.
This time more attention may be focused towards tourism and hazard mitigation. Those were subjects that didn’t receive as much attention during the last comp plan, completed prior to the Waldo Canyon fire and renewed tourism trends in the region.
The new plan, estimated at costing close to $100,000 will feature much assistance from DOLA. The town has received considerable funding assistance for the project.