Vail announces four finalists for town manager position
The search is the second by Vail since 2017
Mayor Dave Chapin has announced the search for the next Vail town manager has been narrowed to four finalists. The candidates will come to Vail for a series of interviews Sept. 16 and 17.
The itinerary will include a community reception with the candidates which is scheduled from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 16, at Donovan Pavilion. Members of the public are encouraged to stop by to learn more about the finalists with doors opening at 5:30 p.m.
The finalists are:
Follenweider has more than 21 years of state and local government experience and is currently the deputy executive director for the Colorado Department of Personnel and Administration. He previously worked as the chief operating and performance officer for the Colorado Department of Natural Resources from 2017-2019 and the deputy director/chief financial officer for the Colorado State Board of Land Commissioners from 2004-2016.
Follenweider also worked for the city of Aurora from 2002-2004 and the Colorado Governor’s Office of State Planning and Budgeting from 1998-2002. Follenweider holds a master’s degree in international development from the University of Denver and a bachelor’s degree in international affairs from the University of Colorado.
Follenweider in 2017 was one of six finalists identified during Vail’s previous town manager search.
Mekarski has nearly 20 years of local government experience and currently is the town manager of Purcellville, Virginia. He previously worked as village administrator for Olympia Fields, Illinois, from 2005-2017 and city manager of Vero Beach, Florida, from 2004-2005.
Mekarski holds a master’s degree in public administration from Oakland University in Michigan, a master’s degree in urban and regional planning from the University of New Orleans and a bachelor’s degree in political science from the State University of New York, College at Buffalo. He is a planner certified by the American Institute of Certified Planners and was awarded a Taubman Fellowship for Senior Executives in State and Local Government at Harvard University.
Anthony (Tony) O’Rourke
O’Rourke has 23 years of local government experience and most recently worked as city administrator in Canon City. He previously worked as city manager in Yakima, Washington, from 2012-2016 and city manager for South Lake Tahoe, Calif., from 2010-2012.
O’Rourke also was the executive director of the Beaver Creek Resort Company from 1996-2010. He holds a master’s degree in urban and regional planning from Cornell University in New York and a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of California in Santa Barbara.
Robson has nearly 20 years of local government and nonprofit experience and is currently the executive director of the Civic Center Park Conservancy in Denver. He is the former CEO of the Colorado Mountain Club in Golden, where he worked from 2014-2018, executive director of the Evergreen Park and Recreation District in Evergreen from 2011-2014 and executive director of parks and recreation for the city of Denver from 2007-2011.
Robson holds a master’s degree in community and regional planning from the University of Oregon and a bachelor’s degree in community planning and architecture from the University of Colorado.
Narrowing the field
The finalists were selected by the Vail Town Council following an initial screening of 73 applicants by the executive search firm Strategic Government Resources based in Keller Texas. During their visit, the candidate finalists will participate in community tours, meet with Vail residents and town council candidates. They will also participate in a series of interviews by the town council and town staff. Following the interviews and after review of the community and staff input, the council will convene in executive session to determine next steps.
The search process was initiated earlier this year following the resignation of Greg Clifton, who served in the role for 18 months. Assistant Town Manager Patty McKenny has been serving as interim manager since April. Clifton had replaced longtime manager Stan Zemler, who held the job from 2003 to 2017.
The town manager is one of three people directly hired by the town council. The others are the town attorney and the municipal judge.