Carbondale names Connecticut official, attorney as new town manager

Lauren Gister, who served in Marines for 25 years, will start in January

Lauren Gister
Town of Carbondale/Courtesy photo

Lauren Gister, currently chief town executive for Chester, Connecticut, is set to become the new Carbondale town manager.

The Carbondale Board of Trustees on Tuesday evening finalized a $180,000, two-year contract for Gister, who was one of three finalists for the position.

She is set to formally start on Jan. 17, 2022, replacing Jay Harrington as Carbondale town manager after his departure in September to become Routt County manager in Steamboat Springs.

After a community meet-and-greet Nov. 17, town trustees and a panel of town staff interviewed Gister and the other two finalists, current Glenwood Springs Parks and Recreation Director Brian Smith and Snowmass Village Assistant Town Manager Travis Elliott.

Trustees met in executive session on Nov. 19 before extending the offer to Gister.

Gister is serving her fourth term as first selectwoman in Chester, an elected position that functions as the town’s CEO, according to a Carbondale news release.

She is also a practicing attorney and served in the U.S. Marine Corps for over 25 years, the release states.

“I look forward to immersing myself in Carbondale and getting to work on behalf of the residents,” Gister said in a prepared statement. “I am excited to become part of this vibrant community.”

The town board plans to introduce Gister to the community at an event in January, with details to be announced soon.

Her contract includes housing and relocation benefits, the release states.

“We are thrilled to welcome Lauren, and it’s especially reassuring that our staff, community interview panel, and the Board of Trustees were in complete agreement about this hiring decision,” Mayor Dan Richardson said in the release. “Lauren is incredibly adaptive, a remarkable problem solver, and has a commendable record leading a similar community with great success. She is an ideal fit for Carbondale.”

Columbia ltd, a national recruitment firm with expertise in municipal government placement, led the town board in conducting the search.

Trustees announced an initial round of three finalists earlier this fall before naming the three finalists who were interviewed last week.

Senior Reporter/Managing Editor John Stroud can be reached at 970-384-9160 or