Bower leaves county job
After working 16 months in the Eagle County Housing Department, Bower, 36, of Gypsum, resigned on Oct. 4.
“I was less than satisfied with the opportunities and the compensation that I received at the county,” Bower said.
Questions arose over whether Bower was asked to resign, but county Administrator Jack Ingstad said Bower resigned on her own will.
“She wasn’t asked to resign,” Ingstad said. “She is a very dedicated worker, very passionate. We tried to keep her.”
One of the reasons for her resignation, Bower said, was the recent hiring of a new director of Housing and Property Management.
“I wasn’t happy with a lot of things going on,” she said, “like the hiring of the new director. We have achieved so much on housing in the last years. I, and (housing coordinator) Dave Carter applied for the job. None of us was even interviewed. I think we should have been at least considered. There was no communication or consideration, so I questioned if that was an appropriate move.”
The new Housing director, Scott Lancelot is a specialist in affordable housing and residential real estate development and management, was hired because the county commissioners want to create a housing authority to oversee all housing efforts in the county, Ingstad said.
“It was time that we took the next step. We have a number of housing issues that have to be resolved, and Lancelot will submit a re-organization plan,” Ingstad said. “We’re talking about looking at overall property management at different properties the county owns. Looking at getting additional grant money and sheparding land use and affordable housing.”
Bower said that Lancelot wasn’t the problem, but the way the current housing department was treated.
“It illustrates some of the reasons why I’m running for commissioner,” she said. “The lack of opportunity. There’s a gap in opportunity. We should give the locals opportunity for advancement.”
Ingstad said the county had certain qualifications for the position and only the top applicants were interviewed.
“We were down to two candidates, both had headed county housing departments. One in San Diego and Lancelot in Salt Lake City,” Ingstad said.
Lancelot, he added, brings 20 years of experience to Eagle County’s affordable housing challenges, with expertise in housing finance, senior housing, the development of housing authorities, marketing and property management.
“I also have to question the decision of paying him up to $90,000,” Bower said. “Last winter there was no heat at the women bathroom because it cost $1,000 in repairs. But they can pay somebody from outside the county $90,000.” she added.
Ingstad couldn’t say how much Lancelot earns, but said a director level position with the county pays from $62,000 to $93,000.
“We’re paying a little more but it fits in the budget next year,” he said.
In regards to the bathroom problem, Ingstad said the county doesn’t skimp on any facility maintenance problem.
“I think she left on the best terms she could,” he said.
Bower said she and the county worked out an agreement where she got a three week severance package.
When asked at Monday’s candidate forum if she would sue the county, Bower said not at this point.
“I consulted an attorney and I might have a case, but I think lawsuits take so much out of it. My priority is to continue with this campaign,” she said.
“I have other job offers but I want to wait and see what happens with the elections.”
Veronica Whitney can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 454, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.