Vail Daily column: Eagle bound to be rash | VailDaily.com
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Vail Daily column: Eagle bound to be rash

Don Rogers
My View
Don Rogers
Laura Mahaffy/lmahaffy@theunion.com | The Union

Looks like the Eagle Town Board has broken into a full sprint to hire a town manager before the new board takes over after the April 5 election.

Why?

Why saddle a new board majority with someone they didn’t choose?

Why would an applicant agree to be hired by the current board a couple of weeks before its term ends?

Why the headlong rush at all? There’s no objective need for it, nothing to gain by it.

Why this board, which has demonstrated awful judgment ranging from the infamous secret visit to Florida to how they handled ridding themselves of their town manager in the worst possible way for everyone?

Why?

Anne McKibbin, the mayor-in-waiting who will be a huge upgrade in the position, makes an utterly painful point defending why the current board should make the hire: “You would have to assume that this board is not capable of doing it.”

Absolutely. And I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who has seen little to suggest otherwise over the past year or so. They seem capable mainly of stepping deeper into messes of their own creation.

Including the needless stampede to hire a town manager just before their term runs out.

Now, starting a proper search in January for a town manager made sense. No time was lost waiting on the next board to begin from scratch in April.

A state guide for hiring chief local government administrators puts the standard window at three to six months for a proper job. Experience over the past three decades watching these things puts it more in the six-month range. Better to get it right than rush, basically.

The Town Board’s original time line called for a job offer by March 6, and so the application period was truncated, which seems to account for fewer candidates at 48 than I’d expect for the position. How many potential applicants looked at this and decided it probably wasn’t worth getting into? I mean, it is kind of a red flag.

I’ll leave initial impressions of the finalists after Google searches alone for the moment. They deserve a fair hearing, and I’ll avoid a rush to my own judgment.

Good judgment would have kept the net for applications open longer, recognized that the right people to make the hire are the ones who will work with the individual, and sought to avoid tying the town’s hands in the future rather than rushing to a decision that won’t concern this board majority in a few weeks.

The problem is not merely a board that won’t be working with the town manager they hire after a week or two. It’s not merely that the process and due diligence have been rushed. Or that well-qualified potential candidates would naturally have exercised their own good judgment about whether to apply under these circumstances.

It all might work out great anyway. It probably will. But these folks are gambling recklessly with Eagle’s future. There is no good reason at this point for a headlong rush to hire. Why not improve the odds of the right hire by having the right people do this job?

This isn’t complicated. It’s just common sense, which unfortunately this board hasn’t shown in some time now. The best judgment they could demonstrate now would be recognizing they’ve done enough damage and let the next board take it from here.

I think we all know by now that’s not going to happen. We can pretty much assume this bunch wouldn’t stop running if they reached a thousand-foot cliff.

Publisher Don Rogers can be reached at drogers@vaildaily.com or 970-748-2920.


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