Assistant city manager resigns | AspenTimes.com

Assistant city manager resigns

Carolyn SackariasonThe Aspen TimesAspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN Assistant City Manager Bentley Henderson has resigned to take the job as public works director of Basalt.Henderson, who has been head of the citys asset management department since February 2006, will begin work in Basalt on Sept. 2. His last day for the city of Aspen is Aug. 22.About 60 percent of Hendersons tenure has been focused on the citys affordable-housing program, including helping negotiate $31 million in land acquisitions in 2007, he said.Henderson also has spent a substantial amount of time helping reconcile the costs associated with Burlingame Ranch, an affordable-housing development built by the city that has come under fire for a lack of management controls. However, Henderson didnt work for Aspen government when spending on Burlingame occurred.And he said Burlingame wasnt the reason he resigned.I live in Basalt and dont have to commute, thats it, he said, adding he will work fewer hours in Basalt than he did in Aspen. Its not all about Burlingame.Henderson said he thinks there are other factors in play, including political and personal motivations with regard to criticisms of how the city developed and managed Burlingame.He characterized his staff and colleagues as highly professional and highly committed. Hendersons team has been able to absorb work that he hasnt been able to get to because of his focus on affordable housing and, lately, Burlingame.There are a great group of dedicated people in [City Hall] whose efforts on everything they do shouldnt be overshadowed by this, he said.Henderson said his experience in City Hall has been positive, both among peers and elected leaders.This is probably one of the more fast-paced organizations of its kind, he said. It has the ability to adapt and change more than any government … The council turns the wheel and pushes the gas, and the staff adapts just as quickly.City Manager Steve Barwick said he wondered whether Henderson would apply for the Basalt position when it was advertised last month. Barwick added that he had hoped not.Hes been great to work with, and its going to be a loss, Barwick said, adding he isnt sure if he will fill the position or reorganize the department; the decision will be based on recommendations made by an outside firm that conducted an audit on the citys performance in building the first phase of Burlingame.The performance review, conducted by Alvarez & Marsal, recommended several policy changes, including establishing a separate department that handles the development of large, multimillion-dollar capital improvements. The firm noted that the city didnt have the resource capacity to manage a large-scale project like Burlingame.The firm also suggested that current policies, procedures and reporting capabilities were not designed to meet the needs of large-scale development projects. To address that, the firm recommended that a separate development department be staffed with asset managers experienced in architecture and construction.csack@aspentimes.com

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