Why cant Minturn hire a town manager? | VailDaily.com

Why cant Minturn hire a town manager?

Steve LynnVail, CO Colorado
Preston Utley/Vail DailyThe contract for Minturns Interim Town Manager Gary Suiter has been renewed. Minturn has had trouble finding a town manager in the past year.

MINTURN, Colorado More than a year ago, Minturns town manager resigned, and at least six more months will pass until the town hires a new one. Thats because town councilors unanimously approved a six-month contract for Interim Town Manager Gary Suiter at a town council meeting in June, with an option to renew for another six months. The town had been accepting applications for a new manager, but had not yet hired one. I had several qualified candidates ready to interview, said Suiter, who also consults for councils in other towns and recently moderated a community meeting in Vail on Interstate 70 construction. [Councilors] said theyd rather extend my contract. From making sure Minturn residents snowy streets are plowed and their trash picked up to running elections and enforcing laws that town councilors pass, managing Minturn may be one of the most important jobs in town. The complexity of the Ginn Development Co.s proposal underscores the need for Suiter, Mayor Hawkeye Flaherty said. Suiter has worked with councilors on the project for almost a year. It would be hard, in my opinion, to have somebody take over in the middle of this, Flaherty said. Ginn wants to build private ski slopes, a golf course and 1,700 homes and condominiums, on and around Battle Mountain, south of downtown Minturn.

Last year, the town paid Ann Capela a $48,000 settlement after about three years on the job and town councilors hired Suiter shortly after. Suiter will be paid $13,500 a month, or $81,000 total, according to his new contract. He will be paid $75 dollars an hour if he works more than an average of 34 hours a week. The town has advertised an annual salary of up to $118,000 for a manager along with free housing in Minturn. Theres a lot of places that pay more money than that, said Alan Lanning, a former Minturn town manager who has been city manager of Steamboat Springs for two years. Lanning started the Minturn Market, built the Eagle River Fire Protection District Station, cleaned up the Eagle River, curbed spending and restored the towns dwindling budget after a lawsuit with Vail Resorts during his six years of managing Minturn, he said. He left Minturn to lead Brookings, S.D., but he enjoyed serving as Minturn and he still likes to visit some former town councilors when he passes through to see his doctor in Vail, he said. The main reason Minturn cant find a manager is probably because the hiring pool for vseasoned ones, like Minturn is seeking, is shrinking, he said. In the next few years, experienced town managers will retire in significant numbers with the rest of the baby boomers, leaving younger, less experienced people to step in, he said.But, Ill tell you, theres a lot of good ones coming up, he said. Theyre going to have the pick of the litter as to where they want to go.

Meanwhile, Suiter has planned to hire more experienced people for the towns planner and its public works director. He also wants to hire a finance director to replace the towns clerk and treasurer, who will stay clerk but also will lead human resources, Suiter said. People hired for those leadership positions would be considered for town manager, he said. Theres more work in Minturn than existing staffers can possibly do, he said. We definitely need to staff up in anticipation of the Ginn development, so this is a part of that effort, he said.

Want to learn more about Minturn Interim Town Manager Gary Suiter and his company Suiter & Associates? Go to suiterassociates.com.Staff Writer Steve Lynn can be reached at 970-748-2931 or slynn@vaildaily.com.

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