Routt County hires communications director
Tim McMenamin scheduled to start work with county March 8
February 24, 2010
Steamboat Springs — After a period of flux in the Routt County Communications Department, Timothy McMenamin said he hopes to bring stability to the position as he takes control of the department March 8.
The Routt County Board of Commissioners gave McMenamin a final vote Tuesday to approve his salary as the director of the department in a position that has seen high turnover in the past two years. County Manager Tom Sullivan said he already offered McMenamin the job but that final approvals were needed before he could start.
McMenamin has worked in public safety for 34 years, including 20 years as a firefighter, emergency medical technician and paramedic, and he said there came a point when he realized that working as a first-responder was a "young man's job."
When it got to the point where it was physically difficult to work in the field, he began doing administrative work and was offered a job in the communications center.
"I fell in love with that part of the job," he said.
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He worked as communications center director for nine years in Malheur County, Ore., and most recently, for five years with Fauquier County, Va.
Sullivan used a hiring team of Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak, Routt County Sheriff Gary Wall, Oak Creek Fire Protection District Chief Chuck Wisecup, Steamboat Springs police Capt. Bob DelValle and Routt County Human Resources Director Chris Hensen to narrow down the applicants.
Sullivan said he initially had 29 applications, and of those, five met the minimum qualifications. The group interviewed three in person, and Sullivan reported to the commissioners that McMenamin was the unanimous choice.
DelValle said McMenamin "seemed to be a very good fit for a community like ours because he had experience in a small community."
McMenamin said he wanted to move away from bigger cities.
"I wanted to get back to a small-town atmosphere again," he said.
"The county I was with most recently was Fauquier County," with 65,000 people in the county and 20,000 in the county seat, he said. "Nobody knows each other; nobody likes each other."
Sullivan said McMenamin's experience was evident during the interviews and set him well ahead of the other applicants when asked how they would handle different scenarios.
"Tim was the one who was talking from experience: instead of what I would do, this is what I have done," Sullivan said.
Looking for stability
Sullivan said stability and the prospect of long-term commitment also were considerations when the team chose McMenamin.
"The question I asked to everybody was how long would you stay here and what are your goals," Sullivan said.
Each of them said they planned to stay in Routt County for a long time, but "I've heard that before," Sullivan said. "Tim is just in the position to do that."
David Hill led the Communications Department from March 2006 to November 2008, and JP Harris took over from February to November 2009. Longtime communications supervisor Sharon Clever had worked as the interim director since November.
McMenamin said one of his first goals was to convince the staff and county that he intends to stay.
"That's going to be the biggest challenge, letting employees know that I'm going to be there a while," he said. "I'm not just going to be there for six, 18 months and put them in a lurch again."
McMenamin said that he plans to move to Steamboat Springs alone to start the job and that his wife, Ann, will join him in the summer.