City of Aspen close to hiring top level communicator
The three finalists for the city of Aspen’s top communications job met with community members and municipal employees Tuesday in hopes of landing the job, which could be offered by the end of the week.
The top candidates are Tracy Trulove, current spokesperson for the Colorado Department of Transportation; Sherri Chadwick, who has most recently worked for STEM School in Highlands Ranch and the city of Centennial; and Denise White, current communications specialist for the city of Boulder.
Roughly 70 people applied for the new position, which the city advertised for earlier this spring. It pays between $93,307 and $131,097, plus benefits.
And while the city already has a community relations director who makes over $94,000 a year plus benefits, top administrators and elected officials believe that is not enough for an organization with a $120 million budget and over 300 employees.
“It’s a lot for one (full-time employee),” said Alissa Farrell, human resources director for the city and interim assistant city manager.
Adding a supervisor role in the communications department is part of an overall public outreach goal with the public. The new position will create a strategic framework that is predictable and reliable for the community, according to Interim City Manager Sara Ott.
As such, the community relations director position, currently held by Mitzi Rapkin who has similar duties and responsibilities as the communications director, is under review.
Farrell said the new communications director will work with Rapkin on revamping the entire department and determine who is responsible for what.
The three candidates, two of whom are from the Front Range and stayed at the Limelight Hotel for one night courtesy of the city, spent Tuesday touring Aspen and meeting with interested parties.
Those who came to the meet-and-greet filled out anonymous sheets on their preference of candidates and submitted them to Farrell’s office.
That feedback will be disseminated to a review panel consisting of Aspen Assistant Police Chief Bill Linn, City Engineer Trish Aragon, as well as Ott and Farrell.
A previous panel made up of other city employees also interviewed the finalists.
Farrell said she hopes to make an offer to the top candidate by the end of the week.
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In the six weeks since Independence Pass has been open this season, the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office already has received 15 reports of semi-trucks trying to or actually driving over the pass.