Aspen city officials shuffle senior level management | AspenTimes.com

Aspen city officials shuffle senior level management

Karl Herchenroeder
The Aspen Times

Aspen's Utilities, Engineering and Capital Asset departments will now report to a newly created Public Works director as the city reallocates responsibilities among senior-level officials.

Capital Asset Director Scott Miller said Wednesday that he accepted his new role about two weeks ago, and he expects to negotiate a new salary soon. The restructuring will relieve Assistant City Manager Randy Ready of duties overseeing three areas: streets, utilities and environmental initiatives. Miller called it a more equitable workload among him, Ready and Assistant City Manager Barry Crook.

Miller currently makes $127,712 a year, while Ready earns $140,192.

The realignment comes in the wake of a botched Utilities Department drainline project and a parking scandal that cost the city between $600,000 and $800,000 since 2010. Aspen City Councilman Adam Frisch said those two issues might have played a role.

"I can kind of read between the lines that there's been some frustration with the Parking Department and as well as the Utility Department," he said.

City Manager Steve Barwick was out of the office Wednesday, but Miller, who was involved in the decision, called the move a logical step, as it is a more traditional management style when compared to other Colorado municipalities.

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"I think it's a positive change, and everybody sees it that way," Miller said.

On Wednesday, Aspen's new $600,000 parking-meter system came online, replacing 81 meters that were susceptible to a scam where drivers used maxed-out debit cards to gain access to free parking. Another hiccup occurred recently when Utilities Manager Dave Hornbacher and Assistant City Manager Randy Ready admitted mistakes in the handling of a $750,000 emergency drainline associated with the controversial Castle Creek Energy Center.

Ready will resume his regular duties outside streets, utilities and environmental initiatives, which includes oversight of the Parking Department. Hornbacher, who previously reported to Ready, will now report to Miller. Hornbacher said he is looking forward to the opportunity to working with Miller.

"They're both exceptional individuals," Hornbacher said of Miller and Ready.

The Utilities Department includes electric, water, utility operations, environmental health, the Canary Initiative and environmental initiatives, which Miller will oversee. He said it hasn't been determined if the Capital Asset director role will be filled or discontinued.

"I'll take a look at that once I analyze all the departments," Miller said. "I want to take a month or so and get to know everyone that's new under me and find out what the challenges are and what those efficiencies could be."

While he wasn't actively pursuing a new role, Miller called it the next logical step in his career.

herk@aspentimes.com