Former Lakewood official tapped as next Snowmass town manager
Aspen Times Staff Writer
Mike Segrest, the former director of community resources in Lakewood, Colo., is expected to accept an offer today to become Snowmass Village’s next town manager.
“We have come to an agreement with our preferred alternative,” said T. Michael Manchester, mayor of Snowmass Village. “We will sign the deal [today] to confirm our new town management.”
In order to remain in compliance with state laws that guide the hiring of town executives, a formal offer to Segrest cannot be made until today. But over the past two weeks, the council has been negotiating with Segrest.
He will be paid an annual salary of $105,000, be given the use of a house in the Crossings neighborhood in Snowmass Village and will receive a car allowance and a benefits package. He replaces Gary Suiter, who resigned in January. Suiter was paid $87,000 a year by the town.
In Lakewood, Segrest managed a $30 million budget and 800 employees across seven divisions such as parks, senior services, transportation and housing.
“He was one the best administrators I’ve ever met,” said Lakewood Mayor Steve Burkholder, who worked with Segrest for six years. “We got a lot of good things done when Mike was here. We hated to see him go.”
Prior to his position in Lakewood, he was assistant city manager in Boulder from 1989 to 1993 and was director of parks and recreation in Boulder from 1979 to 1989.
He has a degree in park administration from Texas Tech and has taken advanced courses at the University of Colorado and University of Indiana’s Executive Development School.
“He was the number one choice of the council, of the industrial psychologist and of the subcommittee, without any advance discussion between any of those groups,” said Snowmass Village Councilman Dick Virtue. Virtue participated in the hiring process along with a group of citizens including John Sarpa, Chris Nolen and Jeff Tippett.
Virtue recommended that the three finalists be screened by a psychologist he has used in the past to hire managers for his two private companies.
“I think he’s a confident person that seems to check his person at the door,” said Virtue. “I think he is a good listener. He takes feedback from those that he respects and formulates opinions independent of special interests. He has a strength of conviction, yet he wears well on people. He is the kind of person who will provide leadership by example.
“And I think he grasps this whole concept of outstanding customer service.”
Manchester cited Segrest’s experience with putting together financial deals to make government projects happen.
“He’s done a lot of work with financial situations,” said Manchester. “He understands money and government really well.”
Segrest, who is in his early 50s, stepped down from his position in Lakewood in 2001 after seven years on the job. According to Virtue, when Segrest’s youngest child graduated from college, he and his wife took a year to sail the Caribbean.
“They decided that while they were young and healthy, they should take a block of time,” said Mike Rock, Lakewood city manager, who was Segrest’s boss. “Mike and Deb are both very community oriented. They are real outdoor people. And I think it would be fair to describe Mike as very bright and self-confident.”
Segrest’s been negotiating with Manchester from a satellite phone and through e-mail.
“I think he is very anxious to come back to work, and he had several offers on the table,” said Manchester.
Segrest is expected to end his sailing sojourn by the end of the month and is expected to assume his new post in Snowmass Village by June 17. That is the date when the Base Village project from the Aspen Skiing Co. and Intrawest is expected to come before council for the first time.
Manchester said he expects Segrest to play an active role in shaping several projects currently being reviewed by the town, including Base Village, the Snowmass Center and the redevelopment of the Conoco site. The council has also been working to get the owners of the Snowmass Village mall to embrace the Base Village proposal, find a way to make an equitable land trade with the owner of the Krabloonik restaurant and dog sled operation, and get a townwide marketing tax passed in November.
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