Roberts mulls housing helm |

Roberts mulls housing helm

Assistant Housing Director Mary Roberts has been offered the head post at the Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority, City Manager Amy Margerum confirmed Tuesday.

Roberts, who could not be reached for comment yesterday, is expected to make her decision by today, according to Margerum. Terms of her contract would still need to be negotiated.

Roberts, hired as assistant director last September, was the housing board’s top choice among three finalists for the post. But candidate Ed Sadler, asset manager for the city of Aspen, has also been offered a role with the Housing Authority, Margerum said.

He will keep his post with the city, but will oversee and coordinate projects for the Housing Authority, which may soon become a city department.

“The housing board thought there were two very talented candidates – one with expertise on construction, one who will bring new energy and focus to the housing board – so they came up with an idea to get both,” Margerum said.

Roberts’ selection was “a pretty easy decision to make,” said Bob Helmus, housing board member.

“Mary has an outstanding resume and works really well with the staff,” he said. “She’s done an excellent job as interim director and has made real improvements in communicating with the city and county. I think she’ll make a dynamite manager.”

Refuting speculation that Roberts had the job locked up from the start, Helmus said, “that wasn’t the case at all.

“People came into the process with their eyes wide open, and I actually looked at the other candidates a lot more closely,” he said.

Local resident Phil Byrne was identified as the third finalist in the selection process.

The new housing director will succeed Dave Tolen, who resigned in June.

If Roberts takes over the Housing Authority helm, the housing board will seek a new assistant director and may consider creating a new position to head up development – “someone really proficient in the planning and development of things,” said Helmus.

Government officials and the housing board agreed this week to push forward aggressively with plans to have 715 new units of affordable housing built or approved for construction within two years.

“I think there’s a renewed sense of purpose at the housing office,” Helmus said.

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