Vail Daily letter: Eagle trustees need to be accountable
May 30, 2017
I think we can all agree that what has happened to the two most recent Eagle town managers has been disruptive and has reflected poorly on the town. I say this with no particular knowledge of why these individuals have been either forced out or placed on indefinite leave. I simply point out that the board's actions have left the impression that the town has a perennial problem selecting and keeping its town manager.
I hope that as part of whatever next steps are planned, you will each, individually and collectively, account to the public about what went wrong. I do not mean that you should explain why either Jon Stavney or John Schneiger was forced out or what led to conflict with the board. I understand these personnel matters must be kept confidential. What I am asking for is an honest self-assessment of how the board has contributed to the failures of our two most recent managers and how it proposes to avoid such failures in the future.
I hope you will avoid the temptation to simply blame the prior board. While your assessment could include some analysis of the appropriateness of the actions of the prior board in forcing Jon Stavney out (including the timing of that action), that can hardly be the whole story behind where we are now. This board hired John Schneiger and worked with him for a year. This board surely bears some responsibility for the situation the town is now in, even if others also bear responsibility.
There is very little that is more important in a board's job description than supporting and empowering the town manager to be as effective as he or she can be. You owe it to the public to account honestly for whether you fully met that responsibility. Your reckoning will help you avoid similar mistakes in the future and may help future boards, as well.
This accounting is the only way to begin to regain trust with a public that is understandably exasperated and mistrustful of the town's ability to effectively manage itself.
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