Seeking new town boss |

Seeking new town boss

Geraldine Haldner

McLaurin, who has worked for Vail for almost a decade, will be returning to Jackson Hole, Wyo., to resume his former position as city manager at the base of the Grand Tetons.

His last day with the town will be April 11.

“Can we not accept it?,” asked councilman Greg Moffet before making the motion to accept McLaurin’s resignation.

Until a replacement has been found, Vail will be in the able and steady hands of McLaurin’s assistant, Pam Brandmeyer, who has been appointed as acting town manager for the time being.

Holding up a shooting-range target, Brandmeyer, who has worked for the town for nearly 23 years, said she is happy to accept the temporary challenge of being the one at whom everyone will take shots. She said she will not add her name to the list of potential town manager candidates, however.

“I feel that I have been a real support and provided the glue, the historical reference and the continuity for this community. I’m happy where I’m at,” said the former elementary school English teacher.

Brandmeyer began her career with the town of Vail in 1980 as the municipal court clerk and secretary to the police chief. Three years later she was promoted to town clerk, and in 1994 McLaurin appointed her assistant town manager.

“Pam will do a terrific job managing the organization in the interim,” said McLaurin. “She is intimately familiar with all the issues and is capable of running this town. Anything I’ve been successful with in this town is in no small part to her support of me.”

Vail Mayor Pro-tem Rod Slifer, the council’s only member with previous town manager hiring experience, said the council will likely engage the services of a “recruiting” or “head-hunting” firm to find potential candidates.

“Last time we made the mistake of advertising in the Wall Street Journal and some other newspaper and we ended up with 800 applicants. We don’t want every unemployed, 28-year-old executive to try to throw his name in the hat.”

Slifer said he estimates the search will take as long as six months.

“In the meantime, Pam will to a great job. She is level-headed and she understands the job.”

Judy Yoder, former mayor of Avon, said even with a head-hunter, hiring a town manager is a time-consuming and costly undertaking.

“You wish you’d started six months earlier,” she said.

After some deliberation last year, Avon chose to promote Larry Brooks, the town’s assistant town manager to the top job. Likewise, Eagle County promoted Jack Ingstad to county administrator three years ago when Jack Hartmann left for St. Petersburg, Fla.

Avon’s former boss interested in Vail

He was Avon’s town manager until last November. He is funny and never short a wise crack. He is a good friend of Vail’s departing town manager, Bob McLaurin – they are the same age and both are known for their folksy, casual demeanor – and he wants to return to Colorado.

Though he is shorter than McLaurin – according to McLaurin – Bill Efting could be a good fit for the sizeable pair of shoes McLaurin will leave behind when he moves back to Jackson Hole, Wyo. in April.

“I think he would be outstanding as Vail Town Manager,” says one of Efting’s former bosses, former Avon Mayor Judy Yoder, who retired from local politics in November.

“He not only has resort experience, he also understands this valley and the dynamics behind it,” says Yoder, who retired from local politics in November just as Efting packed his bags to take on a new challenge as city manager of South Padre Island, a popular spring break beach resort in southern Texas.

“Even if you fly, everything is a day from here,” says Efting who resigned from his new post after barely three months, citing the distance to family and friends as one of the main reasons he wants to get out of Texas.

Efting has two sons studying at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley and a daughter at University of South Dakota, his alma mater.

“I came down here to golf, but without my buddies and family golfing isn’t as much fun,” Efting says, adding that after two tries of leaving the state, he won’t make the same mistake a third time. “I need to be in Colorado. I’m just a dumb Dutch boy making the same mistake twice.”

“I think I was just burned out in November. My dad died and I’m not sure if I had time to bring closure to that,” he adds.

Both Efting and McLaurin lost their dads recently – an experience that further cemented their bond as mock-fierce rivals and real-time buddies.

Efting isn’t surprised that the rumor mill has been churning ever since.

“Vail would be a place I would be interested in. But I still have some time to think about it,” he says, adding that his resignation as South Padre Island’s city manager did not result from any work-related differences. “(The South Padre City Council) were really nice about it. They were surprised, but they understood,” he says.

Vail Mayor Pro-tem Rod Slifer says Efting would certainly be a viable candidate, though a nationwide search for a replacement for McLaurin will likely make for tough competition.

“We would certainly consider Bill,” he says. “I think anybody who has been in both Aspen and Avon would certainly have the kind of knowledge we will be looking for. I personally would welcome his interest in the job,” Slifer says.

Efting, who came to Avon in 1993 after nine years of working for the City of Aspen – the last six years as assistant town manager – has seen Avon through interesting times and critical moments.

Two years ago, he made headlines when he instituted a landmark policy that forbids town employees from using cell phones while driving Avon.

At the time, Efting justified the move with one of his trademark remarks.

“I was drinking coffee and shifting gears and my cell phone rang and I tried to grab it,” he says. “It was like a circus in my car.”

Geraldine Haldner can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 602, or at

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