Snowmass could hire a new town manager |

Snowmass could hire a new town manager

Jill Beathard
The Aspen Times
tn |

Snowmass might have found a full-time town manager.

After almost 11 months with an interim manager, the Snowmass Village Town Council will vote Wednesday on whether to appoint Clint Kinney, city manager of Fruita, to the position. Kinney was one of three finalists for the position when the council conducted its search this winter.

The contract the council will consider offers Kinney a base salary of $145,000 plus benefits. The contract describes a term lasting through July 1, 2016.

Consultant Gary Suiter has been acting as interim town manager since Aug. 1 of last year, following Russ Forrest’s resignation. In January, the council was ready to offer Suiter the position full time, but he refused because the group was split, 3-2, on the decision.

In lieu of a full-time appointment, the three officials who favored Suiter voted to extend his interim contract. Meanwhile, elected officials have continued to make motions to continue the search process for a full-time candidate, and they met with their recruiter about that during a closed-door session on April 21.

Since then, the elected officials have reopened talks with Kinney, according to two council members. They have agreed to vote publicly on his appointment during a special meeting at 4 p.m. Wednesday.

Councilman Fred Kucker, who voted in favor of Suiter’s contract, said he realized over time that an interim manager was not in the village’s best interests.

“The problem has always, at least from my perspective, been with Gary and his unwillingness to take a 3-2 vote,” Kucker said. “In the scheme of things, (that) wasn’t the best thing for the town.”

Kinney was Kucker’s second choice for town manager after Suiter, the councilman said. Kucker thought Suiter had more development experience.

Councilman Jason Haber said Kinney will bring a “fresh perspective” and lots of experience in town management to the job.

“I think he will be a great choice for the future of Snowmass,” Haber said. “I think what’s really most interesting to me is that he gets the Snowmass brand. I think he gets where our potential lies.”

Together again?

The council’s disagreement over Suiter’s hire has become heated at times and appeared dysfunctional to some residents.

However, there have been other issues the council has voted unanimously on and some that they have been divided on but in different factions, Kucker said. The split of Kucker, Councilwoman Markey Butler and Mayor Bill Boineau on one side and Haber and Councilman Chris Jacobson on another has only been over this one issue, he said. If the council votes in support of Kinney, this problem will be resolved, he said.

“You’ve got five different people from five different backgrounds. … Who knows what’ll happen next?” Kucker said. “You don’t expect unanimity in a council.”

“I’m very optimistic that it sets us on a path for having a much more congenial kind of council dynamic,” Haber said.

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