City management undergoes a bit of reorganization
As Aspen’s City Hall gets ready for a change in leadership with the impending departure of City Manager Amy Margerum, there is a less dramatic shuffle going on among the upper administrative levels.
At the same time that she announced her resignation, Margerum also announced a reorganization of her office, shifting responsibilities among various department heads.
“Over the years, I’ve had more and more people reporting directly to me, and I had to reduce that,” Margerum explained, noting that lately there have been a dozen people reporting to her directly and frequently.
“When housing was added, that was just the straw that broke the camel’s back,” she said with a laugh.
Part of the reshuffle was to put City Assets Manager Ed Sadler in charge of financing and construction management for the Aspen/Pitkin County Housing Authority.
This leaves Sadler in a supervisory position over newly appointed Housing Director Mary Roberts, who was chosen over Sadler for the housing director’s position.
But, Margerum stressed, “This is not going to be policy direction. This is going to be more administrative.” She said Sadler will oversee construction management issues, due to his background in construction, while Assistant City Manager Steve Barwick will be overseeing Housing Authority finances.
The main burden of administrative work will still fall on Roberts’ shoulders, Margerum said, meaning she will be in charge of planning, development, enforcement and day-to-day construction decisions.
And policy decisions will continue to be made by the Housing Authority board of directors, Margerum said.
Roberts said she is comfortable with the new arrangement, explaining that while it may look clumsy and hierarchical on a management flow chart, “It’s really sort of a team, and it’s hard to show that on an oversight chart. I think it is going to be an oversight function, and not a `this is how you do your job’ kind of thing. I think it’s something that can work out.”
She said she does not agree with the view, expressed by some critics of the reorganization, that it is creating additional layers of bureaucracy and will only hamper the Housing Authority’s ability to do its job.
“I think every effort will be made to make the process go more smoothly, and not to slow it down,” she predicted.
The administrator most affected by the reorganization of the city’s upper management staff appears to be Barwick, who now oversees not only part of the housing office function but also the finance department, data processing, personnel, engineering, and the Wheeler Opera House.
In addition, the recreation department is being consolidated with the parks department, under the direction of parks superintendent Jeff Woods, who will report directly to Margerum.
Assistant City Manager Randy Ready’s role will remain essentially unchanged, Margerum said.
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