What type of leader does Eagle County need? | VailDaily.com

What type of leader does Eagle County need?

Chris Outcalt
Eagle County, CO Colorado

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado ” The county commissioners in Eagle County, Colorado are still trying to decide what they want the roles and responsibilities of the next top county employee to be.

In December, the commissioners asked then County Manager Bruce Baumgartner and Human Resources Director Nora Fryklund to leave and hired Avon-based Smith Advisors to consult on the search for replacements.

Rick Smith, president of Smith Advisors, interviewed 35 county employees about what qualities they thought the next manager should have. Smith finished his interviews and will meet with the commissioners to discuss his findings in two weeks.

“The three commissioners and Rick will get in a room and hammer out how to structure this process and figure out what we’re looking for,” said Commissioner Jon Stavney.

Whether the county needs an administrator, a manager or something in-between will be part of that discussion, Stavney said. The question, in Stavney’s mind, is how active they want the new head of the county to be.

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“If it’s an administrator, we’re thinking that’s somebody who is implementing the policies without a lot of empowerment to make decisions on their own,” Stavney said. “A manager is somebody you say ‘you need to go actively manage the county.'”

Stavney said he thought not having those roles and responsibilities clearly defined was part of the reason Baumgartner was asked to leave. Stavney wasn’t on the board when Baumgartner stepped down.

“I think in the end this is part of what led to thing with Bruce ” not being clear with where he was going off on his own,” Stavney said.

Commissioner Peter Runyon said the three board members have differing opinions on what a manager and administrator are. The key is coming to a consensus, he said.

“What you call it is less important than what we define it to be,” he said.

The county will likely advertise the job after meeting with Smith, Runyon said.

“We’ll review his report and nail down exactly what it is,” Runyon said. “After that, hopefully we’ll be posting what we’re looking for.”

Whatever the board decides the roles of the new administrator or manager are, it won’t mark a big change in the way the county is run, Stavney said.

“This is a micro-shift,” Stavney said. “We’re not going to be radically changing the government structure.”

And there’s no hurry to make the change, Runyon said.

“The organization is so strong that we can cross the t’s and dot the i’s and feel comfortable taking our time with it,” Runyon said. “I don’t think any of us feel a sense of urgency.”

Staff Writer Chris Outcalt can be reached at 970-748-2931 or coutcalt@vaildaily.com.

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