City manager finalists announced | SteamboatToday.com

City manager finalists announced

Scott Franz

— The four Steamboat Springs city manager finalists include the city’s current interim manager, a county manager who has a decade of experience in Georgia, a Texan who has managed several cities in the Lone Star State and a man who enjoyed 25 years leading the government in a resort city in coastal Michigan.

The finalists will travel to Steamboat in late April or early May to meet the council and the community for a series of interviews.

The contenders include Interim City Manager Gary Suiter, George Korthauer, the former city manager of Petoskey, Michigan, Michael Lamar, the county manager of Morgan County, Georgia, and Steven Norwood, the former city manager of Round Rock, Texas.

The four men all have decades of experience managing cities and towns. And according to their resumes, they all have overseen impactful projects in their communities.

Korthauer said during his long tenure in Michigan, he created a unified public safety department in which police officers, firefighters and medics were completely cross-trained.

In Georgia, Lamar touts that he helped foster a public-private partnership and saved taxpayer dollars by allowing a local lumber company to use a portion of his county’s redesigned public safety complex.

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In Round Rock, a growing city just north of Austin where Dell Computers is headquartered, former City Manager Steven Norwood said he developed a service program focusing on neighborhoods that were struggling and typically older.

And Suiter, an experienced city manager in Colorado who has been leading Steamboat’s city government on an interim basis since October, has already made an impact here by hiring a new police chief and embarking on a long set of goal-oriented workshops with council.

Council last week invited six finalists to come to Steamboat and interview for the job.

Two of those finalists dropped out of contention before the city released the names of the finalists Monday.

“The six we had really rose to the top,” Councilman Tony Connell said Monday. “I’m looking forward to talking to all of our finalists. It’s always good to learn from people’s experiences.”

The new city manager will replace Deb Hinsvark, who parted ways with the city in September amid a rocky relationship with the previous City Council.

Her exit followed an internal police investigation that found evidence a hostile work environment existed at the police department and led to the departures of the city’s police chief and deputy police chief.

The new council has resolved to hire a manager who will enjoy a longer tenure than most of the city’s previous managers, who have only collectively lasted an average of two years and 10 months.

The finalists have all enjoyed longer tenures at previous jobs.

However, Norwood, the former city manager of Round Rock, Texas, was fired from his most recent job as the chief administrator of El Paso County by the county commissioners.

The county was mum on the reason for Norwood’s firing, which came 10 months after he started.

According to local news reports, documents obtained through an open records request showed that Norwood’s excessive absences from his job led to his firing.

According to one news report, Norwood responded to the concerns in an email obtained in an open records request by saying he spends a lot of hours working from home and has “never been an 8 to 5 guy to my direct reports.”

The issue reportedly continued until Norwood’s departure.

On his resume, Norwood lists a number of accomplishments in El Paso, including drastically changing the Commissioners Court agenda process to make it more open and transparent to the residents and the creation of a comprehensive strategic plan.

A search firm narrowed down the list of applicants for the city manager job from 67 to 10.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10