Snowmass water board fires district manager |

Snowmass water board fires district manager

Brent Gardner-Smith
Aspen Times Staff Writer

The board of the Snowmass Water and Sanitation District asked district manager Robert Garcia on Friday to sign a separation agreement that would end his employment at the organization.

“We made a decision to put him on administrative unpaid leave,” said Mike McLarry, chairman of the SWSD board. He declined to give any reason for the board’s action.

“There is nothing I will say at this time,” McLarry said.

But board vice chairman Dr. Samuel Hemley said Garcia was being fired because he was doing a poor job.

“Garcia was a lousy administrator, and I think he did a pretty crummy job and I think it got to the point where he had to go,” said Hemley, who has served on the district’s board for over 13 years. “As far as I am concerned, it was a performance problem. His performance was not up to the level that we anticipated.”

Garcia could not be reached for comment. He has until this Friday to either accept the separation agreement offered by the board or dispute its terms, according to McLarry, who said the district was following federal labor laws in handling the matter. No interim director has been named yet.

Garcia took the top spot at the Snowmass district in January 2001 after coming from a similar position in Las Vegas. He took over from Dick Wall, a former mayor of Snowmass Village who served for years on the district’s board before taking the manager’s spot.

The position pays between $65,000 and $70,000 a year, Hemley said. Job responsibilities include managing the water and sanitation plants and reviewing plans for homes and developments in Snowmass Village. There are 12 employees working under the manager.

An executive session of the board has been set for Thursday, Aug. 8, at 8 a.m. At the meeting, Hemley expects the board to learn if there were any outstanding items that need immediate attention.

“At that time, we will have all the data on whether there are any irregularities,” Hemley said.

The district has recently completed an upgrade to its fresh water plant and is in the third and final phase of renovating the waste water plant.

“I’m not familiar with any significant problems,” Hemley said.

While McLarry offered scant insight into why all five members of the board agreed to ask Garcia to move on, he did say, “It is one of those unfortunate things. You don’t want to invest the kind of money and time that we did in a management search and not have it work out.”

[Brent Gardner-Smith’s e-mail address is]

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