Five finalists for town manager in Vail |

Five finalists for town manager in Vail

Cliff Thompson

Five finalists for Vail’s vacant town manager’s position will be interviewed today and tomorrow by citizens, staffers and the Town Council.

The five were selected from a field of 164 applicants. They include four candidates with current or previous manager experience and one candidate from the private sector.

They aim to fill the vacancy left when Bob McLaurin departed in March to take the town administrator’s position in Jackson Hole, Wyo. A sixth and unnamed finalist withdrew his application.

The position carries a base salary of $100,000; benefits include insurance, retirement, a vehicle, recreation passes and housing in town with an estimated rental value of $3,400 per month. The town manager will supervise 270 full-, part-time and seasonal employees, as well as the town’s $33.4 million budget.

The town hired an executive search firm to fill the position vacated by McLaurin, who served nine years. Mayor Ludwig Kurz said the Town Council will reach a decision as soon as possible, but has not set a deadline for doing so.

“We want to make sure a deadline doesn’t drive our decision-making, so we’re sure that we hire the correct person,” he said.

Below is a brief history of each of the five finalists.

Elizabeth Black

Now the district manager for Copper Mountain Consolidated Metropolitan District, a position she has held since 1995, Elizabeth Black, oversees a $6 million budget and 13 employees. She was there during a merger of districts and oversaw refinancing of debt, employee housing and a stricter tap fee collection protocol, working closely with resort operator Intrawest.

From 1990 until 1994, she was the town manager for Frisco, which then had a $4.5 million budget and a 60-person staff. From 1989 until 1990, she served as the assistant town manger for Frisco. Prior to that she was a circuit-riding town manager for the towns of Kremmling and Hot Sulphur Springs.

Black was an environmental policy analyst in 1987 for the Wyoming Outdoor council in Lander, and in 1986 was a graduate assistant at the University of Wyoming at Lander. She has also held jobs as a tourist information consultant and a day-care teacher in Jackson Hole, Wyo.

She is married with a daughter and two stepsons and says she enjoys skiing, golf, tennis, fly-fishing, cycling, hiking, entertaining and travelling.

Andrew Brabson

Andrew Brabson comes from the private sector, having built CITRA Strategies International, a management consulting company with annual sales of $110 million, 175 staffers and offices in the United States, Hong Kong and China. His company merged in 2002 with a Chinese corporation.

Brabson’s company, Total Management Solutions, provides technical services, sales and marketing, supply chain, manufacturing, and all aspects of running a high-growth and technical business.

From 1988 until 2001, Brabson supervised the Guandong government/Shantou SEZ 20th anniversary upgrade and redevelopment. It included an upgrade of all transportation, public utilities and and municipal operations. He also supervised a joint-venture assembly plant for DBTelecom and Motorola’s China Unicom at which computers, cell phones and injection components are manufactured.

From 1990 until 1997, he was executive vice-president and marketing director for LAG International, a designer, manufacturer and retailer of consumer goods in Asia, Europe and North America. He also worked for Reebok in its South Korea plant and for Kike International in Croatia.

Brabson has an MBA from the University of Michigan and a mechanical engineering degree and business administration degree. He speaks five languages. He has also served as a construction supervisor from 1973 until 1977 and as a cabinet shop foreman from 1972 until 1977.

In Hong Kong, from 1992 until 2001, he was vice-chairman of the Hong Kong Children’s Relief Organization and from 1987 until 1990 he was director of fundraising for the Pusan Orphanage Relief Organization in Korea.

Clay Brown

Brown served as Frisco’s town manager from 1995 until 2002, a period of growth in that town. He supervised 43 full- and 15 part-time employees and controlled a town budget of $13.1 million. While he was there, the town grew from a population of 2,950 to 8,000.

After leaving Frisco, Brown became regional manager for the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, for which he provided technical and financial resources for counties, municipalities and special districts for construction projects, redevelopment and social service impacts to gaming and other development.

From 1988 to 1995, Brown was the first manager for the town of Fraser, which at the time was a bedroom community for the Winter Park ski area and was heavily impacted by a lack of affordable housing. The town during his tenure developed a $3.2 million rental housing project.

From 1981 until 1988, he was public works director for the town of Silverton.

He graduated from Colorado University, Boulder, with a degree in Political Science and American History.

Ed Sadler

Sadler is the assistant city manager for the city of Aspen, a position he has held since May 2001. The town has 250 full-time and 50 part-time employees and a $100 million annual budget.

From 1999 until 2000, Sadler was the asset director for Aspen supervising city engineering, affordable housing, construction, property management and building maintenance. The housing authority alone manages several hundred affordable housing units.

From 1997 until 1998 worked in the Arizona Water Quality Division and supervised a staff of 220 with a $15 million budget. Prior to that he was with the Missouri Hazardous Waste Programs from 1992 to 1997, as well as the director of the Missouri Land Reclamation Program overseeing surface mining reclamation.

From 1976 until 1979, he was a budget analyst for the Wyoming State Budget Office reviewing budgets for the Legislature and the Governor’s Office.

Sadler’s resume notes he paid his college and graduate school tuition by working as meat-cutter, a railroad freight agent and a teaching assistant at the University of Wyoming.

Stanley Zemler

For the past six years, Stanley Zemler has served as president and CEO of the Boulder Chamber of Commerce, supervising a 20-person staff and a $2 million budget.

He has had government experience, serving as the acting city manager for Boulder for three months in 1997 and five years as Boulder’s deputy city manager.

He has experience with housing issues. From 1995 until 1997 he served as the executive director for the Boulder Urban Renewal Authority. One of the projects during his tenure was the Crossroads Mall redevelopment.

From 1985 until 1992 he was the Director of the Office of Environmental Affairs for Policy and Program Development. Prior to that he served as adjunct professor for the University of Colorado, College of Environmental Design.

Zemler earned a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Colorado, Boulder, as well as attended the John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Cliff Thompson can be reached at 949-0555 ext 450 or

Support Local Journalism