Commissioners to vote on finalists for county manager job Monday |

Commissioners to vote on finalists for county manager job Monday

(Photo by John F. Russell)

The Routt County Board of Commissioners will name finalists for the next county manager Monday.

In an executive session with representatives from the county’s search firm KRW Associates on Tuesday, commissioners learned about the six semifinalists who were interviewed by the firm, who narrowed down the field from almost 30 applications submitted for the job.

Commissioner Tim Corrigan said commissioners would discuss semifinalists in a public meeting Monday, assigning letters to represent each candidate to protect their identity. They would then nominate candidates to the finalist list for the job.

“Assuming that vote carries and is agreed upon, right then and there, we will be releasing the names of the finalists,” Corrigan said.

Following that announcement, Corrigan said KRW would provide biographic information about each candidate.

Corrigan said commissioners did not make any decision on candidates in the closed session Tuesday; rather, they had an extensive discussion about each of them. The number of finalists who will be named hasn’t been decided, but Corrigan said they would name more than one.

“We are not going to name one finalist,” Corrigan said, pointing to a new state statue that would allow the county to do just that. “If they are too scared to have their name be made public, then they are probably not the kind of person you want to hire anyway.”

Commissioners have not had the chance to interview the candidates themselves and won’t before deciding on finalists Monday. Still, each of them are optimistic about making a hire because of the quality of the candidates this second search has turned up.

“We have a great set of candidates, and it has been a challenge even to narrow it down so far,” Commissioner Beth Melton said. “You know you are crossing good people off the list … but I feel great about the list we have in front of us.”

Commissioner Tim Redmond said the finalists would then come to the county in person for a series of forums with staff and other stakeholders, hopefully before the end of the month.

“I’m looking for the complete package,” Redmond said. “I’m looking for someone that can handle personnel, and I am also looking for someone with vision.”

Redmond is also interested in how well networked some of these candidates are and how they could leverage those connections to help the county. Master planning experience is also important as the county is starting to go through that process now.

In the last search, a big focus was on the candidate’s ability to execute these master plans, and Melton said she would like to see the next manager turn those into action plans.

Basic management skills are also important, Melton said, especially since the county’s staff has never worked for a permanent county manager other than Tom Sullivan, who is the only other person to ever serve as county manager, a position he held for 20 years. Mark Collins is currently serving in the role on an interim basis and wasn’t interested in the job long term.

“We certainly need someone who is going to have the ability to come in and build relationships with staff and get to know everybody and work with people who have been here a long time and have only worked with one boss,” Melton said.

For Corrigan, it is important the next county manager present a strong public face for the county, but that is secondary to their ability to manage staff.

“I really want to know what their experience and what their abilities are in terms of managing our staff and, in particular, our department directors,” Corrigan said. “I feel like that is really the most important part of the job.”

Commissioners are also looking for someone who is familiar with Colorado or the Mountain West, hoping to avoid a situation where the hire decides the job isn’t a good fit after the first winter, something Melton said the county and other businesses have had to deal with in the past.

“We are kind of coming out of a tough time, but I think we have the possibility in this county to really set the tone for the next 50 years of who we are, what we want to be and how we grow,” Redmond said. “I can’t think of a more exciting time to be at the table than right now.”

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