Carbondale tabs new manager from Cortez |

Carbondale tabs new manager from Cortez

CARBONDALE – Jay Harrington, the current city manager for Cortez and a 17-year veteran in Colorado municipal and county government, is set to become Carbondale’s new town manager.

The Carbondale Board of Trustees, at its Tuesday night meeting, voted unanimously to extend a two-year contract to Harrington, which he has accepted, according to Carbondale Mayor Stacey Bernot.

“The board eagerly anticipates Mr. Harrington’s arrival and looks forward to his leadership,” Bernot said on Wednesday. “The board, as well as the staff and community panels that interviewed the six finalists, really felt that he was the top candidate and the best fit for Carbondale.”

Harrington is expected to join the Carbondale town staff in late August. He will be given an annual salary of $114,000, Bernot said.

He replaces Tom Baker, Carbondale’s former town manager for six years, whose contract the town board declined to renew after 2010. Nancy Barnett, assistant town manager and finance director, has been interim town manager since January.

The town board has been in contract negotiations with Harrington over the past two weeks after he emerged as the top candidate following town board and panel interviews on June 4.

“Through the interview process it was clear that he has been successful in his profession, and that he has a dynamic skill set that set him apart from the other candidates,” Bernot said. “He has proven himself as an effective manager with staff, and in his ability to handle issues of community concern. Jay will be able to bring balance, transparency and openness to our community as well.”

Harrington was tied up in meetings in Cortez on Wednesday, and was unavailable to comment.

In addition to his current position as Cortez city manager, Harrington previously served as town manager for Telluride and Pagosa Springs. He also served as a senior planner for La Plata County in Durango.

He has a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies from Saint Lawrence University, and a master’s in urban and regional planning from the University of Colorado at Denver.

Six finalists were chosen from 62 initial applicants for the Carbondale manager’s job. The other finalists were former Pitkin County assistant manager and Garfield County assistant attorney Deborah Quinn; former Frisco town manager Elizabeth “EA” Black; former Monte Vista Main Street and Economic Development Director John Lyons; Ypsilanti, Mich., Assistant City Manager April McGrath; and Grand Lake Town Manager Shane Hale.

Bernot admitted some initial hesitation to including the citizen and town staff panels in the interview process. The town also hosted a public reception with the finalists prior to the formal interviews.

“I am glad we went the extra length to include the community and form the two panels,” Bernot said. “It ended up being a great way for the board to focus on what we wanted to see in a manager, and for the staff and community to interact with the candidates and raise their questions. It was wonderful to see it come around to Jay as our final choice.”

The town also used consultant Fred Rainguet to facilitate the search and interview process.

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