A broken system that needs fixing | AspenTimes.com
YOUR AD HERE »

A broken system that needs fixing

The recent saga of Aspen City Hall should teach that a city manager left in place for decades becomes City Council’s master, not its servant. Moreover, any long-serving city manager accumulates long-remembered mistakes and steadily loses public confidence. How did this happen?

Little known is section 6.1 of the Aspen Home Rule Charter, which requires that the city manager be employed “without definite term.” Thus, the city manager’s employment is at the will of City Council, but his employment need not be reviewed on a regular basis.

Accordingly, only a crisis leads to change. (Current council practice is to hold an annual performance review, but somehow council overlooked accumulated missteps.) This has permitted council after council to duck the requirement of deciding whether to continue the city manager’s employment or seek another for the position.

If candidates for council or mayor want to help the city avoid another city manager debacle, they should promote a city charter amendment to force City Council to decide periodically whether to retain the city manager. His champions and his critics would have to make their cases on a regular basis.

I recommend an amendment that would 1. Require the city manager’s employment be for a two-year period with the possibility of unlimited successive two year renewals upon a majority vote of city council; and 2. Require the expiration date of each two-year employment term to fall midway between biannual municipal elections (to minimize the political component of council’s decision whether to renew).

Maurice Emmer

Aspen


Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Aspen and Snowmass Village make the Aspen Times’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.

For tax deductible donations, click here.
 


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User