Clint Kinney dives right into Snowmass town manager job

Jill Beathard
Snowmass Sun
The Colorado City & County Management Association has named Town Manager Clint Kinney the 2022 Manager of the Year.
Aubree Dallas/Snowmass Sun |

Clint Kinney has seen it before.

Snowmass Village’s new town manager was hired by the city of Fruita in 2002 while some council members were campaigning to recall others on the board. Kinney started his job as city manager after an election had decided those issues, but he had a lot of work to do to move the municipality forward.

“It’s what city managers do,” he said.

The Snowmass Village Town Council had its own divisiveness this year over the very position that Kinney has stepped into. The elected officials were split on a decision to hire their interim manager, Gary Suiter, and he didn’t want to accept their offer without unanimity. Finally in June, more than four months after extending Suiter’s contract indefinitely, they came to an agreement to hire Kinney.

“When you get to have a job that you want in a place that you want to live, it’s home-run stuff.”
Clint Kinney
Snowmass Village town manager

But Kinney said he’s heard that on other issues the council votes together, and this situation is different from the one he walked into in Fruita.

“That was different,” he said. “This is different. Every town’s different, and that’s why I want to sit around and listen a lot.”

Fruita’s city manager for 12 years, Kinney saw the municipality grow significantly under his leadership. The city’s population doubled in size from about 6,000 to around 13,000 in that time, he said.

“That sounds like a lot, but I think it was done in such a way that the community wanted it,” Kinney said. “It wasn’t controversial. We had a plan in place, we followed the plan, and so there weren’t a lot of surprises.”

Part of that process involved developing the city’s infrastructure, including a new wastewater-treatment plant and recreation center. Trails and tourism development, as well as a downtown revitalization project, also were key during Kinney’s tenure.

“Fruita had a pretty strong vision of where it came from … (and a) pretty strong vision of where it wanted to get,” Kinney said.

Kinney came on the scene in the midst of the council’s review of Related Colorado’s application to extend Base Village vesting, which slowed down this week when the elected officials decided to continue the public hearing and give town employees more time to review amendments the developer made to the agreements.

Kinney calls his management style “open-door.”

“I’m very frank,” Kinney said. “I like to have frank, very honest discussions. I like to have a lot of fun at work, too.”

Kinney is familiar with Snowmass, having bought an Aspen Skiing Co. Classic Pass for most of his time in Fruita. A family man, Kinney and his wife and two daughters spend a lot of time outdoors.

Going to events and riding the trails around Snowmass aren’t things he does because of his job, he says, but just things he likes to do.

“When you get to have a job that you want in a place that you want to live, it’s home-run stuff,” he said.

People in the Kinneys’ neighborhood and at the Aspen schools have been very welcoming, he said.

“I’ve had neighbors bring over cobbler,” Kinney said. “That’s very nice to walk into and be a part of. I can’t wait to make somebody cobbler.”