Green Mountain Falls Taking a Breather in Search For a Top Boss

No timeline for picking GMF Town Manager

~ by Rick Langenberg ~

After enduring three unsuccessful tries with finalist candidates,  scouring through dozens of resumes and having many meetings,  Green Mountain Falls leaders are taking a slight time-out in their search for a head boss.

Instead, they plan to rely now more on their current staff to fill the shoes of a town manager, at least when it comes to running municipal operations.

Following last week’s trustees meeting, Mayor Jane Newberry indicated that no timeline is in place for hiring the elusive manager that has baffled local leaders since early this year. She said they are seeking advice from other government experts in the region. Leaders indicated they have received some assistance from Woodland Park City Manager Darrin Tangeman.  Tangeman has been a big advocate of efforts to secure key government positions for former members of the military.

They also may seek advice from Clay Brown, the regional director of the state Department of Local Affairs, an agency that has been a big cheerleader for the concept of a town manager for Green Mountain Falls.

But right now, the elected trustees don’t appear to be in a hurry

“It is kind of nice to take a break,” said Newberry. She stated that the current staff with Planner Julia Simmons and Town Clerk Laura Kotewa are ready to fill the gap. They also will still receive some assistance from current interim manager Jason Wells

But Wells can’t spend that much more time in his role, as he is embarking on a new business venture as the owner/operator of the former Ancient Mariner bar/eatery in Manitou Springs. He wasn’t present at last week’s trustees meeting.

Of course, luck has not been on the side of Green Mountain Falls in trying to select a town manager. They are competing against several other communities in the region in picking a town manager, such as Manitou Springs and Monument. Both of these towns have commanded many news headlines for their struggles in finding and keeping town administrators/managers.

Unlike these towns, Green Mountain Falls’ limitations in hiring a manager hinge on money and not politics, noted Newberry.   “We may have our disagreements as a board, but we agree to move on (once a decision is made),” said the mayor.

Nevertheless, GMF leaders have struck out with three finalist candidates. They initially narrowed the field to two, and in late April introduced these candidates to the public. The two finalists, Emily Katsimpalis, now the finance director for Woodland Park, and Kyle Coleman, a top manager for the village of Estero, Florida, both made brief presentations and conducted all-day tours of the area. Final agreements, though, could not be reached with either candidate.

Then, the third  finalist, Karen Gerrity, the administrator of Nederland, Colorado, also appeared like a sure winner for the job. But again, a deal could not be reached

The mayor welcomed the break in the town manager selection, as she hinted that leaders may have gotten too bogged down with deadlines and naming finalists.  Despite the road blocks they have encountered in pursuing this search, the mayor said the trustees are still firm believers in the concept of having a town manager. “We really need a point person,” said the mayor. She cited a future town manager as a principle contact liaison between the citizens and elected leaders.

Otherwise, the trustees will be headed back to managing and overseeing day to day operations. This is a government role that officials from the state Department of Local Affairs have frowned on.

But the town manager idea is still one that has sparked mixed opinions by local residents. Some say they would like to see more money invested into road improvements and infrastructure, instead of allocating so much money towards hiring a town boss. Others, though, contend that the town needs to get away from its current practice of using interim managers, and either pick a permanent town boss or give up the idea entirely.