Garfield County fires two top staffers, restructures six posts |

Garfield County fires two top staffers, restructures six posts

Heather McGregorPost IndependentAspen, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – A staffing shake-up hit Garfield County again on Friday with the firing of two top county government officials and the restructuring of six other key positions, according to a press release issued by the county government late Friday.Garfield County’s acting county manager, Andrew Gorgey, eliminated the positions of assistant county manager Dale Hancock, who has worked for the county for more than 25 years, and Lisa Dawson, director of administrative services and former county finance officer, who worked for the county for three years.The two were fired on Friday and offered severance packages.Gorgey said the savings from the two eliminated positions are about $225,000 in salaries plus an additional 25 percent in benefits.The firings follow the Jan. 3 firing of county manager Ed Green, who had served in the position for 13 years.”We know decisions like these, particularly when positions are eliminated, are hard on all concerned,” said John Martin, chair of the Garfield Board of County Commissioners. “But these are business decisions, and we are confident the best interests of the county have been served.”Martin said the commissioners “vested substantial authority” in Gorgey, who has been serving as acting county manager since January. Gorgey was hired a year ago as the county attorney to replace longtime county attorney Don DeFord, who retired in late 2010.”We are pleased with his performance so far,” Martin added.The BOCC hired the headhunting firm of Peckham & McKenney to recruit applicants for the county manager post, and the firm is currently reviewing 53 applications. A list of finalists is to be presented to the BOCC on March 19, with interviews slated for March 29-30.Gorgey will return to serving solely as county attorney once the new county manager is on board, according to the press release.

The press release also announced changes in six key county positions, which Gorgey explained further in a telephone interview on Sunday.• Gary Noffsinger, manager of the information technology (IT) department, will report directly to Gorgey “to emphasize the county’s commitment to IT and continual improvement to its systems.” Noffsinger was hired in January, and previously reported to Dawson.• Ann Driggers, the assistant director of administrative services, will take on the new title of senior finance administrator. Driggers holds extensive experience in economic development, Gorgey said, and will take on an immediate project of helping top county officials define the county government’s direction for economic development.”We are not trying to overload her, but to draw on her experience in economic development,” Gorgey said.• A newly-hired assistant county attorney, Tari Williams, will temporarily serve as the interim head of the procurement department. Her first major project will be a complete review of the county’s procurement code, procedures, staffing levels, audit controls, approval authority for department heads, and the department’s interaction with the finance department.The procurement department has been severely understaffed for months, Gorgey said, and the review is “in no way” a reflection of the quality of work being done by staffers Jamaica Watts and Eugene Duran.”They’ve been doing yeoman’s work, and we are extremely grateful to them,” Gorgey said.• Renelle Lott, the current website specialist, will have public communications added to her job duties and will take on the new title of communications coordinator.• Airport director Brian Condie will report directly to Gorgey. He had previously reported to Hancock.• Rodney Hollandsworth, the criminal justice services administrator and manager of the community corrections residential facility in Rifle, will also report directly to Gorgey. He too had previously reported to Hancock.The press release stated that no further position cuts are planned in any county department.”Existing staff will absorb the essential functions from the positions eliminated,” the release stated.”We wish our former employees well in the future,” Martin stated in the release. “We thank all our employees for their patience, service and commitment during this time.”

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