Snowmass council wants to shed light on manager’s independent contract
Ryan Summerlin May 23, 2014
Snowmass Village wants to shine a light on its town manager’s contract.
The Town Council voted 3-2 Monday night to have their finance and human resources director perform an analysis to show what Town Manager Gary Suiter’s complete compensation package would look like if he were a full-time, regular staff member.
Suiter is serving as town manager on three-month terms. His employment is automatically renewed unless he or the council terminates the deal. The arrangement was approved because the council split, 3-2, in January on hiring Suiter.
Suiter works approximately 32 hours per week and receives $17,250 per month, according to terms of the contract. He is paid extra for overtime. He doesn’t receive health insurance or other benefits that are offered to regular staff members.
“There’s a lot of confusion over $17,000. It’s a lightning rod.”
Councilwoman Markey Butler
Councilwoman Markey Butler made the motion for the compensation analysis. She said she has talked to at least 35 people in recent weeks about Suiter’s compensation and found that many don’t “know the nature” of an independent contract. An independent contractor often receives a higher salary or financial pay to offset the lack of benefits.
“There’s a lot of confusion over $17,000. It’s a lightning rod,” Butler said. She suggested people feel that is a high amount to pay.
While addressing Suiter directly, Butler added, “You do not get covered for any benefits of the town. People don’t understand that.”
The analysis will bring clarity and transparency to the compensation issue, said Butler, who voted to hire Suiter.
Councilman Jason Haber said he wasn’t convinced there is confusion over Suiter’s pay. He said he was “not sure” that staff time is warranted to analyze what a full-time, regular town manager would be getting paid in salary and benefits. Councilman Chris Jacobson concurred. Anyone with a calculator can figure out what the town is paying Suiter on an annual basis, he said. That would be $207,000, not including overtime.
“I don’t know what any mysteries are,” Jacobson said.
Haber and Jacobson voted against hiring Suiter.
Mayor Bill Boineau and Councilman Fred Kucker supported the compensation analysis. Boineau agreed with Butler that some residents are confused about Suiter’s pay. Kucker said Suiter’s pay “isn’t out of hand” considering the amount of time he has served as a municipal manager.
The analysis will be completed this spring and made available to the public.