Aspen’s city clerk steps down after five years at her post, decade with city
Linda Manning, the Aspen City Clerk and former City Council candidate, resigned from her position of nearly five years on Friday.
She informed her boss, City Attorney Jim True, in the morning just after one of her employees, records manager Jeannine Stickle, had tendered her resignation.
The two departures represent 40% of the staffing level in the five-person City Clerk’s Office.
Longtime city employee Reed Patterson, who works in the Clerk’s Office and handles municipal court, is retiring in January, leaving a third position open in the department.
True said Stickle’s and Manning’s departure is a blow to his team.
“They are both valuable assets,” he said, “and it’s tough to lose them.”
Manning, who started in the city’s utilities department almost a decade ago and unsuccessfully ran for a council seat this past March, said Friday it is time to move on from municipal government.
“I want to do something where I am inspired and make a difference in the community,” Manning said, adding that she is considering her options and will take some time off before deciding what’s next. “I want to start the new year off excited and passionate in something I believe in.”
During her campaign, Manning was a critic of the city’s policies and shook up the local political scene as a government employee looking to get elected.
As a political newcomer who never had run for office before, Manning came in last of the four candidates with 1,076 votes.
A holder of a concealed weapon permit and gun owner, Manning was vocal last month when she spoke in front of council prior to it approving a weapons ban in city buildings.
The weapons ban passed by council does not apply to concealed carry permit holders but as a city employee, Manning is not allowed to bring her gun to work.
“I haven’t been happy in my job for a while, whether it’s workplace safety or the organization’s values,” she said.
She’s also asked for a police presence during council meetings, as criticism against the administration has been ramped up by a few individuals.
During her campaign leading up to the March election, Manning stepped away from her role as elections manager but continued to carry out her other duties as city clerk.
She said the dynamic in City Hall and with her colleagues has changed since she ran for a council seat.
“I think the attitudes toward me are different than before I ran for office,” Manning said.
True said Manning’s bid for a council seat as a city employee was not a concern of his, and as a citizen she has a right to run for public office.
“We handled it the best we could,” he said. “Linda is entitled to her feelings and position.”
True added that he will miss Manning, who he has become friends with over the past 10 years.
“I’ve worked closely with her, so it’s hard,” he said. “She’s been an excellent asset to the city and it’s disappointing to lose her.
“It saddens me but I want what’s best for Linda.”
Manning and Stickle’s vacancies add to a list of positions that the city is looking to fill, including the community development director and the utilities portfolio manager in the city’s water department.
Former Community Development director Jessica Garrow resigned this past summer to take a job at Design Workshop; Margaret Medellin, who is the utilities portfolio manager, recently gave her notice as she is moving away from Aspen.
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What happens when the usual mental health fixes aren’t working the way they used to?