Pitkin County inks contract with new manager | AspenTimes.com

Pitkin County inks contract with new manager

Janet Urquhart
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

Jon Peacock

ASPEN – New Pitkin County Manager Jon Peacock will earn a base salary of $150,000 according to the terms of a contract inked last week by both Peacock and Commissioner George Newman.

The contract goes into effect Jan. 3, the first day of his employment.

Peacock, hired to succeed former manager Hilary Fletcher, is currently a Grand Junction resident but has visited the Aspen area frequently of late, meeting with county commissioners and staff members, and searching for a home. Last week, he also signed a contract to purchase a house in Snowmass Village, though the deal has yet to close.

“We weren’t sure we were going to get that close in, but we were lucky in our search,” Peacock said Monday. Initially, Peacock thought he and his family might be looking in the midvalley to find a home in their price range.

His employment contract provides for up to $8,000 in moving expenses.

Peacock, 39, will be back in Aspen this week and said he expects to sit in on Wednesday’s budget hearing before commissioners, though solely as an observer.

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His employment contract was a matter of “amenable” negotiation with commissioners, but the salary was not a point of contention, according to Newman. It’s what commissioners offered to Peacock after he accepted the post, Newman said.

Commissioners set a base salary of $135,000 for the post before beginning the search for a new county manager, with the ability to pay more, based on a candidate’s experience.

The contract provides for 60 hours of administrative leave, allowing Peacock to wrap up affairs in Grand Junction. It’s not an usual contract component within the county, Newman said, but commissioners “negotiated it down a little.”

The terms also establish six months’ severance pay if commissioners terminate the contract, unless Peacock is fired because of conviction of a felony.

The language makes it clear that no severance will be paid if he leaves the post voluntarily, though Fletcher received six months’ severance pay after she resigned to take a job in the private sector.

There was little discussion about paying out severance under similar circumstances with the new contract, Newman said.

“The only talk was that we’re not going to offer that again,” he said. “Jon certainly understood that. He didn’t ask for that.”

Peacock would receive severance pay if he resigns “following an offer to accept resignation” from a majority of the commissioners.

Peacock, a former county administrator in Mesa County, did not receive severance pay when he left his last job in order to attend to family matters, because his resignation was voluntary, according to a press release issued by Mesa County at the time. He resigned the post last July.

janet@aspentimes.com