Efting resigns as Basalt’s town manager | AspenTimes.com

Efting resigns as Basalt’s town manager

BASALT ” Basalt Town Manager Bill Efting resigned this week, effective by the end of the year.

“I’ve been thinking about it for the last three or four months,” he said. “I just decided I need a change.”

Efting informed council members about his decision this week and offered to stay on until the end of the year to help with the transition. He became town manager in December 2003.

Efting, 55, is well-known in the valley. He spent 11 years with the city of Aspen, from 1986 through 1997, including nine years as assistant city manager.

Basalt Mayor Leroy Duroux said he is sorry to see Efting go. “It was completely his decision. I tried to talk him out of it. He said it was time for a change,” Duroux said.

The seven-member town council has completely turned over, with the exception of Duroux, since Efting was hired. The new council majority has made slow growth a top priority. Nearly two months ago the majority passed a moratorium on most major new land-use applications. The moratorium will be in place for at least nine months while the town reworks some of its land use regulations.

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Efting said the moratorium has nothing to do with his decision. He said he is a professional who takes direction from the council, not someone who sets policy.

Duroux suspects there may have been philosophical differences between Efting and some board members that influenced the manager’s decision. “Maybe he’s been uncomfortable the last few months,” Duroux said. “He may have been uncomfortable with what the board wants to do.”

However, Duroux said Efting had the support of “the majority of the board.”

Councilwoman Jacque Whitsitt took that a step further. “I think he had the support of a super majority,” Whitsitt said.

She has been friends with Efting for more than 20 years. They commuted together when both worked for upper valley governments.

“We’re going to miss him. He was a good manager,” Whitsitt said.

She noted that it isn’t uncommon for a manager to resign when a new council comes into office.

Efting said he hasn’t been job seeking, but will start putting out feelers both in and out of government. His three kids are out of college, so he isn’t facing as great of financial pressure to find something right away, he said.

Efting said he might try public relations or sales after a career in government. (He was also the Avon town manager for six years and held that position briefly in South Padre Island, Texas.) He and his wife Carol intend to stay in the Roaring Fork Valley for the immediate future.

He called the Basalt job his “most satisfying” position in government service, citing work with a citizens’ group called “The Green Team,” which has worked on energy efficiency, alternative energy and recycling.

The town has a budget approaching $6 million, which includes a 1 percent sales tax for open space purchases. That tax will raise an estimated $1.3 million this year.

Efting said the town’s infrastructure, including roads and parks, is in good shape and the town staff “is great.” A new Whole Foods Market, scheduled to open in late 2009 or early 2010, provides “a good insurance policy” for sales tax revenues for the next 15 to 20 years, he said, recognizing it also brings challenges like increased traffic.

Efting said his strength as manager is overseeing operations. “I don’t have a strong land-use planning background,” he said.

Duroux said the council hasn’t had a chance to meet yet to decide how to find a replacement manager. Efting will help with the budgeting process for 2009.

scondon@aspentimes.com

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