Snowmass close to hiring town manager

Jill Beathard
The Aspen Times

Mayor Bill Boineau told a group of second-home owners on Dec. 26 that he hoped to announce this week who Snowmass Village’s new town manager would be.

The town manager position has been open since Russ Forrest left to take a job with Gunnison County on Aug. 1. Speaking at a public meeting of the Part-Time Residents Advisory Board, Boineau said the council had interviewed the two remaining candidates — Gary Suiter, currently the interim town manager, and Clinton Kinney, city manager of Fruita.

“I would like to have announced something and had a negotiation and been done a while ago,” Boineau said. “It’s my desire that we do have something we can announce hopefully next week.”

The council received 164 applicants for the job, Boineau said. It had announced the names of three finalists on Dec. 10. Michael Mallinoff, city manager of Annapolis, Md., has since removed his application.

Boineau said he is concerned about finding the right candidate in light of pending development applications from Related Colorado and Aspen Skiing Co. for Base Village.

“My concern is that we do have some development happening across the street, and I need somebody who knows the players, been around, has grown a lot and I think could really help,” Boineau said.

Board chairman Mel Blumenthal asked Boineau about the status of the community development director search, which he said also is key to that development.

That position also opened up the first week of August when Steve Ferris took a job with the city and county of Denver. He was the fourth high-level employee with the town to resign in 2013. In addition to Forrest’s departure, Susan Hamley left the helm of Snowmass Tourism and former Public Works Director Hunt Walker retired from his position. The tourism and public-works positions have been filled.

Boineau said at the meeting that the council had been wrestling with whether to have Suiter lead the search for that position or wait until it had found a permanent town manager. The search process has now started, with advertisements for the job posted on national and international planning and city management association websites.

Suiter said ideally, a town government would want to wait to interview the candidates until a new town manager is on staff. Suiter already is in Snowmass, but if the council selects the other candidate, the interviews might be postponed.

Chief Building Official Mark Kittle has been serving as interim department head.

“Mark’s doing a fine job,” Suiter said. But, “they need someone up there,” not least of all because of the major development applications coming up.

“We just don’t want to postpone it too long,” he said. The job description on the town’s website for community development director advertises a salary of $87,554 to $122,579 annually. The deadline to apply is Jan. 10.

The town-manager advertisement said that salary was negotiable.