Vail Daily editorial: Patience is a virtue when hiring top positions
May 9, 2017
This editorial has been corrected to more accurately reflect how former Eagle Town Manager Jon Stavney left that job.
Word came late last week that the Vail Town Council is essentially starting over in its search for a new town manager. Similarly, members of the Eagle County Schools Board of Education seem to be in no hurry to hire a replacement for outgoing Superintendent Jason Glass.
Both Eagle County Schools and the town of Vail are in good shape right now, both financially and organizationally. Both elected boards seem confident in the directions set by Glass and former Vail Town Manager Stan Zemler. Equally important, those organizations seem confident in the ability of interim administrators to keep the district and the town running on their current courses.
That's a recipe for success.
In speaking last week with several Vail Town Council members about the search, everyone interviewed said the town can find a good choice for the town manager's job, if given a bit more time.
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It's a hard job — the town of Vail is a big organization, and the top administrator has to answer for issues ranging from snowplowing to what happened to last month's sales tax collections. Still, the job seems to be an outstanding opportunity for the right person.
The school district position also seems to be a great opportunity, albeit in somewhat different ways. After years of running on a relative shoestring, district voters last fall approved the biggest property-tax increase in county history to fund both higher teacher salaries and an ambitious school construction and renovation program.
It's well worth a bit of extra time — and, yes, money for searches — to get those searches right.
Hurrying — as the town of Eagle did after forcing the resignation former manager Jon Stavney in late 2015 — seems to bring troubles of its own. Eagle Town Manager John Schneiger is currently on paid leave while an independent firm reviews his first year on the job. Whether that evaluation results in a vote of confidence or a set of walking papers remains to be seen.
While patience will probably pay dividends for Eagle County Schools and the town of Vail, whoever is hired for either of those jobs will have a hard act to follow. Good luck to the successful candidate for each job — whenever that person is hired.
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