Town clerk named ‘interim’ manager in Avon
AVON, Colorado – The Avon Town Council Tuesday took its first steps toward adapting to business without longtime town manager Larry Brooks, naming Patty McKenny, the town clerk and assistant town manager for manager for management services, to the interim town manager’s job.
Before that, though, part-time resident and a former council member wanted the sitting board to know how they felt about the Jan. 10 announcement that Brooks would resign effective Feb. 29.
That resignation came at the request of four council members – Buz Reynolds, Chris Evans, Dave Dantas and Todd Goulding. Brooks’ last full-time day on the job will be Feb. 29. He will be paid as a part-time employee for the remainder of this year.
“Over the last nine years or so, we’ve been pleased with the way the town’s been run,” said Tom Hicks, a Houston resident who owns a condo in town. “We want to express our appreciation to Larry.”
Tamra Underwood, who served on the council from 2004-2008, had harsh words for the council members who wanted Brooks’ resignation.
Underwood said Brooks’ departure is a “travesty” on a couple of levels.
On a human level, Underwood called Brooks the town’s “hardest working, most seriously devoted employee.
“This cuts to the core of a person that you all, without cause, decided he should go,” she said.
From a civil government perspective, Underwood said the majority that sought Brooks’ resignation acted without regard for either residents or fellow council members. She also said the four council members’ actions have created a “culture of fear” among other town employees.
Mayor Rich Carroll and council member Amy Phillips, who opposed Brooks’ resignation, agreed with Underwood’s remarks,
“It’s sad when four people make a decision without the knowledge of the rest of us,” Carroll said.
And Phillips agreed with Underwood that the costs to the town of replacing Brooks would be higher than expected.
With that said, though, all the council members present agreed with a suggestion from Evans that the search for a town manager should begin with an independent evaluation of the town’s operations, using opinions of town employees, residents, and the people and companies the town does business with.
“We have a whole bunch of consultants in our employees,” Evans said. “At this critical juncture, rather than plowing ahead with what we think is correct, we need to ask people what they think is correct.”
With a three-week stretch between the second meeting in January and the first meeting in February – set for Feb. 14 – the council will probably hold a special meeting as soon as next week to approve a “request for proposals,” to send to business consultants and search companies that might be able to start the work the council wants done.
The process of hiring a manager is expected to take much of the rest of this year.
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