Aspen mayoral candidates on a contract for city manager
ASPEN ” This is the third installment of a five-part series profiling the four candidates for mayor ” LJ Erspamer, incumbent Mick Ireland, Andrew Kole and Marilyn Marks ” in their own words. This feature will run through Friday.
Next week, The Aspen Times will focus on the City Council candidates, who will be asked the same questions that are being posed to the mayoral contestants. Today’s question: If elected, would you support an employment contract for City Manager Steve Barwick?
A contract with the current city manager would be established after designating specific criteria of performance and a time period for review with a verification of accomplishments. This criteria must be objective, measurable and quantifiable to reach predetermined goals with reasonable validation. Basic fundamental business practices will be implemented by the city manager throughout our city operations that will reflect a style of detailed achievement. After performance review and acceptance by City Council, then a specific timed contract could be offered with continued monitoring for success of designated improvement of city operations.
Yes. Contracts set clear expectations for the employee and the employer. With a contract, the City Council will be able to set the terms of employment, and the terms for dismissal. Further, it will give our city manager clear guidance about what the City Council expects from him. A contract also tells the citizens what the expectations are of the manager. Most city managers have a contract, and Aspen’s deserves the same.
I would like to hear the arguments on both sides, understanding that his job is very tough ” but that he is well paid for it. I do not think I would support a contract focused on a severance package, if he was fired. Instead, I would like to have an opportunity to hear the benefits to the community if a contract is exercised. I understand he is the filling the role of CEO, but in these tough financial times supporting a contract for him, while other employee’s jobs are so fragile, might not be the way I would go.
This matter is a personnel matter, which I hope does not become more of a campaign issue. I don’t think it is appropriate for a potential city official to opine on this issue ” even prospectively ” in the media before a new council has a chance to consider an executive’s performance and the expectations. City officials do not discuss personnel matters in the press. I believe that it is a good policy for candidates to adopt as well.
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City of Aspen officials are trying to figure out what the downtown core looks like this winter as COVID-19 cases are on the rise in the state and in some parts of the country.