Interest strong for open Aspen city manager job, more than 60 people apply |

Interest strong for open Aspen city manager job, more than 60 people apply

A total of 64 people have applied to be Aspen’s next city manager, and now it is up to a headhunter to cull the list of applicants before making a recommendation to elected officials.

The deadline to submit applications to the city-hired recruiting firm, Peckham & McKenney, was Monday.

“My job is to review all of the applications and align them with the description of the ideal candidate,” Drew Gorgey, western region vice president of the firm, said Wednesday.

He will then prescreen selected candidates via video-conferencing, as well as send supplemental questions to them before making recommendations to Aspen City Council in an executive session on July 30.

Council will interview finalists on Aug. 8-9 also in executive session.

Gorgey said typically, governments will choose between three and five finalists for an open city manager position.

Gorgey said the number of applicants attracted to the job is on the higher end of his expectations.

“It was a healthy response,” he said.

The identities of the applicants will remain confidential until the list has been culled.

“Until there are finalists, the public doesn’t know who the candidates are,” said City Attorney Jim True, adding the pool of applicants would be far smaller if people were concerned that their employers would learn they are seeking employment elsewhere. “It’s very important to keep the names of applicants private.”

Council members discussed last month how public the process should be, and agreed that finalists should have a meet-and-greet session with the public.

By then, those applicants will have been notified that they are in the running so they can inform their employers that their names will be made public.

The open position was advertised in early June after the city held a series of open houses to allow members of the public to offer their insights and feedback on the most desirable qualities they’d like to see in the city’s next leader.

A candidate profile was created based on that feedback, as well as from the council and city staff.

The recruitment brochure that was distributed detailed the priorities and challenges the community faces, including a lack of affordable housing, a lack of communication and public outreach from the city, and running a resort community.

It has been more than two decades since Aspen recruited for a new city manager; Steve Barwick was asked to resign in January after 19 years in the position.

Soon after, Assistant City Manager Sara Ott became interim city manager and has a contract with the city until Sept. 1 to be in that role.

The new city manager will make between $180,000 and $214,000, plus benefits and a housing stipend.

Alissa Farrell, the city’s human resource director and interim assistant city manager, said the plan is to make an offer to the preferred candidate next month.