City manager finalist withdraws candidacy |

City manager finalist withdraws candidacy

Bob McLaurin of Jackson, Wyo., cites personal reasons; Roberts remains

Mike Lawrence
Jon Roberts
John F. Russell

— The search for Steamboat Springs’ next city manager has narrowed to one.

Bob McLaurin, town manager of Jackson, Wyo., and one of two finalists for the position, withdrew his candidacy and no longer is seeking the job, interim City Manager Wendy DuBord confirmed Tuesday. The withdrawal leaves Jon Roberts, city manager of Victorville, Calif., as the sole finalist for the position.

DuBord said she spoke with Roberts on Tuesday, but the city has not offered him the job and intends to continue with a public interview.

“The city is planning to go forward with the interview process as we’ve scheduled it, with a few scheduling changes, obviously,” DuBord said. “If that all goes well, I suspect the (City) Council is prepared to offer the job to Jon, but not without the public interview process.”

Roberts is scheduled for a public interview at noon Jan. 7 in Centennial Hall on 10th Street. He said Tuesday that McLaurin’s decision “really doesn’t change anything” in his mind.

“For me, the interview process has always been to find out if I’m a good fit for Steamboat Springs,” Roberts said. “I would not have applied for the job if I did not intend to see the interview process all the way through. I’m please to be participating in the final interviews next week.”

McLaurin said in a statement to city officials that the decision to withdraw was one of the hardest he has ever made.

“Steamboat Springs is a great town and the city is an outstanding organization,” he said. “My reasons for withdrawing were both personal and professional. When we moved from Vail to Jackson, I promised my youngest son that he could finish high school here. Leaving now would require me to commute until he graduated next year. I did not want to miss his last year of high school and did not want to be separated from my wife for this length of time. The second reason was the mayor and council here in Jackson expressed a strong desire that I continue my employment here. I felt, given their confidence in me, that it would be an act of disloyalty to leave at this time.”

If the city hires Roberts, he likely would take a steep pay cut. He earns about $295,000 in Victorville, while Steamboat Springs is offering $140,000 to $180,000. But Roberts said his position as the sole finalist would not be a leveraging factor in compensation discussions.

“Absolutely not. The discussions about salary occur after they’ve already made their selection – this has no impact on that at all,” he said. “It’s public information as to what the salary package is for the city manager. : I’m interested in the job, and I’m perfectly satisfied with the package that they offer.”

DuBord said McLaurin notified Phil McKenney, of executive search firm Peckham & McKenney, about his decision late last week. But with some city staff out of the office for the holidays, DuBord said she did not learn about the withdrawal until late Monday.

She said although she has only talked with Roberts briefly, she has a positive impression.

“My initial reaction is very pleasant, very professional,” DuBord said. “He took the announcement with surprise, as we did.”

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