The Snowmass Village Town Council has set April 7 to have public discussions regarding its contract with interim Town Manager Gary Suiter and whether to reopen the search process for a permanent candidate.
The council entered into a consultant contract with Suiter on Feb. 3, agreeing to pay him $17,250 a month to act as town manager. His contract states that his term will be renewed automatically every three months unless he or the council terminates it with 15 days notice.
Since the ratification of Suiter’s contract, by a 3-2 vote, Councilman Chris Jacobson, who voted against it, has made several motions to terminate the agreement and begin searching for another candidate. When he did so at the March 17 council meeting, Councilwoman Markey Butler questioned whether the motion should be an agenda item so that the public would be aware of it.
Motions can be made at any time, but Mayor Bill Boineau said he agreed with Butler’s sentiment.
“I do believe, Markey, that you are correct,” Boineau said. “It would be my thinking that at the end of the first contract period it would be probably an agenda item.”
Councilman Jason Haber said he continues to hear from residents, including one individual who was on a public committee that provided input on the town manager search process, that they are frustrated with the “permanent, temporary solution.”
“To me that makes a lot of sense to talk about getting past it,” Haber said.
“I’ll be a little different on this,” Boineau said. “It’s my opinion that the process we went through was very complete, and if we do go through another process, it’s not going to be as complete.”
Boineau suggested, however, that the council schedule a related discussion on an agenda before the end of Suiter’s first contract term, which is at the end of April. Town Attorney John Dresser told the elected officials that in order to have the discussion 15 days prior to the end of the term, they would have to discuss it at their April 7 meeting.
“With all due respect, … I just have a motion on the floor,” Jacobson said. “I appreciate the discussion, but I’m not hearing an amendment to the motion.”
Boineau then called a vote, and the officials once again voted 3-2 against Jacobson’s motion. Boineau, Butler and Councilman Fred Kucker voted against it; Haber and Jacobson were in favor. Jacobson’s first motion only related to terminating Suiter’s contract, so after the vote, he proposed another on whether to reopen the search process.
“There’s a great deal of reference tonight talking about people in the community (against the contract),” Butler said. “I’m not convinced that that is unanimous throughout this town. I would suggest that we have that discussion at the meeting on the 7th under two different agenda items and encourage the public to participate in the conversation.”
The council voted with the same 3-2 split against Jacobson’s second motion. The April 7 meeting starts at 4 p.m. in the Town Hall council chambers.