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Routt County narrows search for new manager to 2 finalists

Two finalists remain in the search for a new Routt County Manager, following a vote from the Routt County Board of Commissioners this week. Both candidates have extensive experience in public administration and management.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Routt County has narrowed its search for a new county manager to two finalists. 

Joe Kerby and Paul Fetherston both have extensive experience in public management, according to a news release about the hiring process. 

Kerby currently works as the county administrator in Benton County, Oregon. In the past, he served as county manager for La Plata and Montrose counties, city manager for Delta and deputy county manager for Douglas County. An avid mountian biker, Kerby said he has wanted to return to Colorado for years, particularly to Routt County.

“I consider Routt County to be a premier county in Colorado,” he said.

Kerby added how his experience in other tourist-heavy communities makes him an ideal candidate. 

Fetherston currently works as the assistant city manager for Greely. In the past, he served as assistant county manager for Lake County, Illinois; assistant city manager for Asheville, North Carolina; and deputy city manager for the city of Boulder. 

Asked why he applied for the position, Fetherston described Routt County as a vibrant community that offers a high quality of life with access to great outdoor recreation. He wants to offer his expertise in public service, particularly during the challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The county hired an outside firm, Texas-based Strategic Government Resources, to recruit qualified candidates for the position. The Routt County Board of Commissioners met this week to narrow 14 semifinalist applicants down to the two finalists. After watching video presentations of the semifinalists, the commissioners agreed to advance Kerby and Fetherston to the last round of the hiring process. 

Routt County Commissioner Doug Monger acknowledged the COVID-19 pandemic might have caused a shallower pool of candidates. Despite the pandemic, the county received 74 applications for the manager position, according to Monger. Commissioner Beth Melton said she feels satisfied with the two finalists.

The next round of the hiring process includes a virtual meeting with the county’s department heads, a public meeting with community stakeholders and interviews with the commissioners. Due to statutory regulations, the county cannot make an offer until 14 days after the public announcement of the finalists. 

Interim County Manager Mark Collins will remain in his position until the new manager takes over. Collins took over in March as a temporary replacement for former, longtime manager Tom Sullivan who retired the same month after 19 years in the position. 

To reach Derek Maiolo, call 970-871-4247, email dmaiolo@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @derek_maiolo.


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