Dan Foote hired as city attorney after receiving a wave of community support | SteamboatToday.com
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Dan Foote hired as city attorney after receiving a wave of community support

Dan Foote's selection preceded by strong community support

Dan Foote has worked as the city of Steamboat's staff attorney and assistant city attorney for 17 years. He earned his law degree from the University of Oregon, where he graduated with a GPA that ranked sixth out of his class of 112.
Scott Franz

In other action:

• The council heard a presentation about a proposed expansion of the Howelsen Ice Arena to add a second sheet of ice that could also accommodate other sports such as lacrosse when it is not in use. The council is currently weighing whether to pledge lodging tax dollars to fund a portion of the project that is being backed by private fundraisers. The council has asked for a presentation on the status of the city's lodging tax dollar reserves and projections for the future. The discussion will continue Jan. 19.

• The council approved $412,807 worth of grants that will be distributed to dozens of local nonprofits. The funding is given to three coalitions representing nonprofits in the fields of arts and culture, the environment and human resources. The grant requests were vetted by volunteer committees, and the committees then made the funding recommendations.

• The council approved a supplemental budget request worth $525,795 that covers such additional expenses as $60,620 in costs related to the police investigation, a severance package for former CIty Manager Deb Hinsvark, a raw water irrigation project at West Lincoln Park and $79,655 for the services of an interim police chief.

— The appointment of a new city attorney Tuesday prompted a loud and rare celebration in the Steamboat Springs City Council’s chambers.

Just before midnight, Dan Foote’s friends and co-workers broke into a raucous round of applause in Citizens Hall after the City Council appointed Foote as its lead legal counsel.

In other action:

• The council heard a presentation about a proposed expansion of the Howelsen Ice Arena to add a second sheet of ice that could also accommodate other sports such as lacrosse when it is not in use. The council is currently weighing whether to pledge lodging tax dollars to fund a portion of the project that is being backed by private fundraisers. The council has asked for a presentation on the status of the city’s lodging tax dollar reserves and projections for the future. The discussion will continue Jan. 19.



• The council approved $412,807 worth of grants that will be distributed to dozens of local nonprofits. The funding is given to three coalitions representing nonprofits in the fields of arts and culture, the environment and human resources. The grant requests were vetted by volunteer committees, and the committees then made the funding recommendations.

• The council approved a supplemental budget request worth $525,795 that covers such additional expenses as $60,620 in costs related to the police investigation, a severance package for former CIty Manager Deb Hinsvark, a raw water irrigation project at West Lincoln Park and $79,655 for the services of an interim police chief.



Veteran local attorney Bob Weiss, who has worked on the opposite side of cases from Foote, even came to the podium late in the evening to express his support for the new city attorney.

Foote, Steamboat’s staff attorney and assistant city attorney for the last 17 years, brings a wealth of institutional knowledge to the job, including expertise on constantly evolving marijuana rules.

He will now go from being an audience member and occasional guest speaker at council meetings to sitting on the dais with the council to provide legal advice.

“It’s very gratifying they have confidence in me to appoint me,” Foote said Wednesday. “We are facing some challenging times right now, but I look forward to a long tenure here.

“I like the people I work with, and they like me,” Foote continued. “I think everyone was happy I got promoted because it reflects highly on staff and shows confidence in staff.”

The mood in City Hall following the promotion was visibly upbeat on Wednesday morning as city staff members stopped by to congratulate Foote.

“You’re in the deeper stuff now,” a colleague joked.

Foote moved to Steamboat in December 1996 to ski while he planned to pursue a job as a state public defender.

He drove a taxi after he first arrived here.

His job at the city became his career.

Foote and his wife, Cheryl, have three children who are all in the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club.

Foote is an avid mountain biker and has coached soccer for several years.

Foote succeeds Tony Lettunich, who served as city attorney for more than two decades.

“Dan is the best fit for what we need right now,” Councilman Scott Ford said before the council voted to hire him.

No other city council hire in recent history had received as much public support as Foote did in recent days.

His promotion was not a slam dunk.

Some council members acknowledged that if they had just considered his interview with them last week, he would not have landed the job. Some viewed his interview style as too casual.

But when community members learned he didn’t appear to be the leading candidate following that high stakes interview, they mounted an intense lobbying effort touting Foote’s character, institutional knowledge, professionalism and commitment to the community.

The council agreed that Foote’s experience with the city made him the best candidate for the job.

“We got more emails (in support of Foote) than we got about the police investigation,” Councilwoman Heather Sloop said, adding she had received about 50 messages of support.

Foote said he was surprised by the overwhelming support he had received.

Foote’s supporters were persistent and stayed at Tuesday’s council meeting until its conclusion just 30 minutes before midnight.

“He’s forged relationships with the community. He knows how things have worked and why they have worked,” Diedre Boyd told the council.

Another community member said it helps to have an attorney who “knows where all the bodies are buried.”

Councilman Jason Lacy said he was swayed by the public support for Foote.

Lacy added he spent time recently talking with Foote’s coworkers and learned they were adamantly behind the longtime city employee.

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


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