Town of Eagle parts ways with former manager John Schneiger after one year
EAGLE — John Schneiger is no longer Eagle’s town manager.
Schneiger was employed by the town for a little more than a year and has been on paid administrative leave since May 23. The town Friday sent out a press release to announce that Schneiger and the town had reached an agreement for him to leave his Eagle employment.
The press release issued by Eagle Human Resources Manager Lynette Horan reads “Mayor Anne McKibbin announced that the town and town manager John Schneiger have mutually agreed to part ways. John has informed the mayor that he met the goals he could in the first year, so it is time to find new challenges to conquer.”
The statement did not include financial details of the split, and the Vail Daily has formally requested that information. Schneiger’s contract with the town included provisions for termination and severance pay. If he was terminated, without cause, then he was entitled to a lump sum cash payment equal to six months of his aggregated annual salary, which is $126,000. The contract also stipulated that he would be compensated for all earned, but unused, vacation time.
After an Eagle Town Board meeting on May 23, Schneiger was placed on administrative leave and he has been on paid leave since that time. It was Schneiger’s second suspension this spring.
On April 30, Schneiger began a two-week paid suspension from his job while the town board selected an independent, outside consultant to conduct his one-year performance review. The review included interviews with staff and board members. The review was completed and Schneiger returned to work May 15. The May 23 session was the first town board meeting held after members received Schneiger’s evaluation results.
Since the paid leave announcement, Eagle Town Planner Tom Boni has been acting town manager.
Second manager change
Schneiger’s departure is the second time in two years the Eagle Town Board has parted ways with its manager. In November 2015, the previous town board suspended former manager Jon Stavney. When Stavney officially resigned as Eagle Town Manager in December 2015, under the terms of a negotiated agreement, the town paid him five months of his regular salary, along with accrued vacation and sick time. The total, after taxes, was $39,052.
Stavney is now employed as the executive director of the Northwest Colorado Council of Governments.
Stavney’s suspension brought out a crowd of Eagle residents to protest the move and was controversial at the time because it came six months before five members of the seven-member board were up for election. Under Colorado statute, when a new board is elected, one of its first actions is to consider the appointment of town officers, which includes approving or rejecting the employment of the town manager. The outgoing board selected Schneiger as the new town manager at the meeting immediately prior to the election of the new board after a three month search process.
When he was hired, Schneiger was one of two finalists for the Eagle town manager job.
Schneiger has a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in urban and regional planning from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Master of Business Administration in management from Colorado State University in Fort Collins. He has 24 years of government experience and was the Fruita city manager from 1992 to 2000 and the Montrose city manager from 2000 to 2005.
He was also the city manager in New Port Richey, Florida, where he left employment in 2012. According to a story published in the Tampa Tribune, for a month prior to his departure, Schneiger was “on leave or vacation.” He then told the mayor he wanted to leave his position in the financially troubled city.
New Port Richey Mayor Bob Consalvo was quoted saying Schneiger had no desire to return to his job. “He feels he has lost the support of a majority of the council,” Consalvo said.
When he was interviewing for the Eagle job, Schneiger said New Port Richey “was a tremendous challenge from a financial perspective.” He noted the unpopularity of necessary budget cutbacks resulted in a political issue where he lost board support. He added, in retrospect, he wished he had given notice before leaving the job.
Immediately before he began work in Eagle, Schneiger was employed by the Grand Junction Downtown Development Authority. He began work with the group in October 2015 and was terminated in November 2015. He subsequently filed a federal lawsuit alleging that he was terminated “because of his repeated objections to the ‘misappropriation and misallocation of public funds’ by the Downtown Development Association board of directors.”
Landscaping and construction, while honorable professions, could not contain Cole Greenfield’s dreams. He wanted to be a worldwide ecotourism guide based in Iceland.