Routt County appoints temporary manager
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Routt County has hired an interim county manager with extensive experience in public administration and education who is scheduled to start Wednesday, April 1.
Mark Collins, who has more than 35 years of experience in the public sector, starts his new job at an interesting time amid a public health crisis sparked by the outbreak of the novel coronavirus. Despite the mayhem, Collins looks forward to his first day, which will include getting up to speed on current public health initiatives and the various operations of county departments.
“I want to make sure we continue to do the best we can to maintain the health and safety of the county,” Collins said.
With things so hectic at the moment, Collins said he is focused primarily on carrying the baton from local leaders and help the county manage the current pandemic.
In December, Collins completed a three-year contract as the city administrator of Sheridan, Wyoming. He turned down an extension of that contract because he wanted to move his family back to the Western Slope of Colorado, where he has served previously as managers for the cities of Gunnison and Grand Lake.
Collins also has worked as the associate vice president for administration at the University of Wyoming, where he received a master’s degree in public administration. He has taught as an adjunct faculty member for the University of Colorado Denver and continues to teach as an adjunct professor for the University of Wyoming.
After a few months out of the public sector, he wanted to take the county manager position as a way to get “back on the front lines.”
Asked why he chose to move to Routt County, Collins said he and his family have coveted the area for its outdoor recreation opportunities. They have visited in the past to hike, ski and raft.
“It’s one of the best gems in the entire state,” he said of the county.
An avid cyclist, Collins drove to the area on Tuesday, March 31, with enough daylight to take his fat bike on a ride.
Commissioner Tim Corrigan said the Routt County Board of Commissioners worked with a recruiting firm, Strategic Government Resource, to hire Collins. They selected him based on his previous experience and his communication and leadership skills.
“In interviews, he was obviously a very outgoing, personable man who I expect will have little difficulty making connections with staff and in providing leadership and oversight,” Corrigan said.
Collins serves as a temporary replacement for former manager Tom Sullivan who retired this month after 19 years in the position. The county will continue to work with the recruiting firm to find a permanent replacement by midsummer, according to a news release.
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Routt County’s Human Resources Coalition has outlined a three-year plan to help vulnerable county residents, putting particular focus on affordable housing, transit and mental health.