Barwick picked for city manager post
Steve Barwick, one of departing City Manager Amy Margerum’s top assistants for the past six years, will be moving up to take the top job when Margerum leaves in late November.
The decision to offer Barwick the job was made by the City Council late Monday night, in a closed-door session following the regular council meeting.
Barwick accepted the job Tuesday morning, according to Mayor Rachel Richards.
The City Council’s first choice to take Margerum’s place was former Assistant City Manager Bill Efting, presently the town manager for the city of Avon in Eagle County.
Efting was offered the position on Oct. 20, but turned it down and formally withdrew his application on Oct. 21.
“I’ve got a good gig over here and the timing wasn’t right,” Efting said Tuesday afternoon from Avon. He said he has two kids in college in Greeley, which is closer to Avon, and “I wasn’t really looking for a job when they called me. And I’m still not.”
The council delayed offering the job to Barwick until Monday because one of the members, Tom McCabe, was away on a hunting trip last week and could not be included in the discussion.
“Council felt we had two highly qualified candidates between Bill Efting and Steve Barwick,” Richards said. “It was a very difficult, kind of razor-thin choice between the two.”
But, she continued, Efting had “a slight edge in terms of the personal contacts he had developed in town, and his personal style was a real strength.” Efting, who held
the posts of recreation director and assistant city manager at different times, was known as a popular city official even at times when Aspen’s city government came under fire over different issues.
Richards said the hope was that, if Efting took the job, the administration could “create a team” that took advantage of Efting’s personable style and Barwick’s “analytical abilities and strategic strengths for creating efficiencies and cost savings in government.”
Barwick started working at City Hall in late 1993 as the city finance director and an assistant to the city manager, after being hired away from the town of Vail.
He started with an office in the finance department, but within a year a new finance director was hired and Barwick was moved upstairs into the hub of the city administration, only a couple of doors away from city manager’s office.
In a recent reorganization of the administrative department, Margerum put Barwick in charge of a broad array of city functions and departments – evidence that she felt he was capable of handling a complex workload.
According to a statement released by City Hall, over the years Barwick has been “responsible for the finance, personnel, information systems, city clerk’s office and risk management functions.” He has also led the city’s “reinventing government” effort to better meet the community’s needs.
“We’re expecting a very smooth transition,” said Margerum, noting that “we have a great number of projects in the works … that Steve has already had a very active hand in. I think it’s a real advantage for the community to have someone who can come right up to speed.”
Barwick’s starting salary will be $90,000 a year, Richards said, a slight drop from Margerum’s present salary of $101,900 and “not a significant increase” from Barwick’s present salary of $79,700.
Richards said the City Council and Barwick still have some details to work out concerning his job, and added that it will be up to him to decide whether to fill the vacancy created by his own promotion.
Barwick, taking time out of a meeting Tuesday night, said he is “excited” to take the job and plans to “take some time and get my feet wet. I’ve got a lot of people in town I need to meet.” He said he is aware that he has been a background figure at City Hall until now, and that many people in town do not know who he is.
Barwick has a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Colorado at Boulder, a bachelor’s degree from the same university, and 14 years of government management experience.
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International visitors have traditionally accounted for 10 to 20 percent of Aspen Skiing Co.’s skier visits in recent past seasons. Travel fears and restrictions tied to the coronavirus are expected to wipe out most of that market for 2020-21.