Houston: We Have a Problem

~ by Rick Langenberg ~

Cripple Creek is on the move, with the prospects for more hotels, resort amenities, affordable housing units, sports betting, outdoor activities, events and now possibly no gaming limits.

These are the ingredients for a destination mecca, a term that has been thrown out in the Creek for decades, but with few tangible results.  That scenario could soon change.

The big question now: Can the city government stabilize its own town boss scenario. Cripple Creek will once again commence on the search for a head city administrator or manager. That’s no big news, as the town has endured close to 10 head interim and full-time managers since 2005. And if you combine the axing of city managers and marketing directors together, the city may be looking at something like 20 heads that have been cut off.

Craziness and absolutely unnecessary.

With all the opportunities and changes coming forth, this revolving door syndrome presents an unsteady image for Cripple Creek.  Woodland Park, for example, has sported two city managers in the last decade and a half, and Teller County has featured one administrator for many, many years. Even Victor has sported a fairly stable hand with town managers.

If Cripple Creek continues along their current path, it may gain the reputation as another Monument-like political disaster.

With the recent severing of ties between the city council and former administrator Mark Campbell, maybe the time is ripe for refining both the hiring and the removal process of town administrators.

Town elected leaders should now consider a better method to develop a consensus so a lose-lose predicament doesn’t occur. This would help eliminate the rumor mill, and tales of someone getting hired based on a behind the scenes conversation, or they are a friend of a friend, of another friend. Also, the process of axing a town administrator with a simple majority vote seems a little arcade.

Town managers aren’t about personal opinions, and who likes whom, and part of a political football game.

At the same time, town managers/administrators in Colorado have a limited life in their respective communities. On the other side of the coin, neighboring municipalities/entities haven’t endured the same revolving door trend as Cripple Creek.

For TMJ’s experiences, we definitely enjoyed working with Mark Campbell, and wish him the best in his future endeavors. We especially enjoyed his wit, flair for stories and his knowledge of the government workings in Colorado.  He also seemed to have a good rapport with the local and regional media.

And as someone who loves Celtic music and heritage, I definitely am a little bias here. Mark even liked one of my favorite female singers, crazy woman Sinead O’Connor, who I named my border collie dog after.

At the same, we realize others had different views, and that is all fine and dandy.

In reality, we have had fairly good relations with all of the city’s recent top managers, including Ray White, Ray DuBois, Bill McPherson and formerly Kip Petersen.  There were also a few others in-between who didn’t last that long, or got a smell of the political environment and ran up Tenderfoot Hill in full retreat.

The time for showmanship in the city administrator approval arena needs to end.

More importantly, it may be time to develop a process to get a more long-term manager on board.  And if someone gets picked, that is the city’s decision.

Maybe, the best solution is to require more consensus both in the hiring and termination of head managers, or do more meet and greets with both the public and staff. The more publicity regarding the selection of a head manager the better.


In any case, we urge the city council to develop a more bullet proof method to select their next head boss. The future of the town may depend on this action.

Super Tuesday is the official kick-off the election season, and finally Colorado is not a forgotten state in the pickings of presidential favorites.

Following Super Tuesday, we have the caucuses, the assemblies, Woodland Park city elections and then the Colorado primaries. There is little time for relief.

TMJ is getting into the elections; act and will be sponsoring and moderating a Teller County Commissioners forum, featuring the candidates for District One and Three. The forum will be hosted by the Country Lodge in Woodland Park on Thursday, March 19, starting at 6  p.m. The four candidates will introduce themselves and answer a few questions.

If you care about the future of the county, make sure you show up.