Headhunting firm zeroes in on Aspen city manager finalists | AspenTimes.com

Headhunting firm zeroes in on Aspen city manager finalists

Sara Ott

Aspen’s elected officials will meet behind closed doors Tuesday afternoon to evaluate potential finalists for the open city manager position.

Finalists are expected to be announced as early as Wednesday or as late as Friday, according to Drew Gorgey, vice president, western region, for the headhunting firm of Peckham & McKenney, which is leading the national search for the city.

Interim City Manager Sara Ott confirmed Monday she is one of the 64 people who applied for the job, which became open in January after the forced resignation of longtime City Manager Steve Barwick.

Gorgey said three candidates have withdrawn for various reasons.

He added that Peckham & McKenney invited 16 applicants to the prescreening interview round, which has been completed.

Gorgey conducted the screening interviews by video conference and via phone.

While Gorgey will be focusing on the top 10 candidates in executive session, Aspen City Council will be able to see cover letters and resumes of all the applicants.

Council can choose as many finalists as it wants but typically it’s between three and five candidates, according to Gorgey.

Candidates have to agree to be a finalist, and if he or she does, their application is open to public inspection.

“City Council has many choices, and I anticipate a robust and competitive final interview process,” Gorgey said via email. “Everybody needs to remember the only ones with the authority and the responsibility to make a hiring decision are the five members of City Council. Nobody else.”

Ott has been doing the job since she negotiated a contract with a previous council in February.

Ott, who has served as assistant city manager since May 2017, is the interim city manager through Sept. 1 at a salary of $195,255, per the contract.

If she is not selected for the permanent position, Ott will return to her assistant city manager role at her former salary of $162,843.

Council will be conducting interviews of the finalists in public Aug. 8-9, followed by an executive session to discuss the hiring of a new city manager.