Rifle names five finalists for city manager

Alex Zorn

RECEPTION Rifle residents can meet the city manager finalists from 6-8 p.m. Friday at the Ute Theater, 132 E. Fourth St.

Rifle residents have a chance to meet the five finalists to be city manager on Friday.

The finalists, announced Tuesday, are Jeff Wilkins, (Oswego, Illinois), James Nichols (Henderson, Nevada), James Patrick (Kalispell, Montana), Randall Partington (Garden City, Kansas) and Tabatha Miller (Lake Havasu City, Arizona) are the finalists for city manager of Rifle.

Wilkins is the former county administrator for Kendall County in Illinois (population of around 125,000) and also worked as the city manager for Buchanan, Michigan (population of around 5,000), from 1998 to 2002. He was the Kendall County administrator for 15 years.

Nichols came to Henderson after various subordinate city manager roles, including working as the deputy city manager for Las Vegas from 2009 to 2011. He worked as the county manager of Douglas County, Nevada (population of 50,000), from September 2014 to January 2016.

Patrick, who may have the most city manager experience of any of the candidates, worked as city manager of Storm Lake, Iowa (population 11,000) from 2010 to May 2017. Before that, he was city manager for Kalispell, Montana (population of 22,000) from 2004 to 2008.

Partington has worked as the county administrator for Finney County, Kansas (population of 38,000), since 2010. Prior to that, he served as the assistant county administrator and human resources director for the county.

Finally, Miller, whose experience focuses on finance, worked as the administrative service director for Lake Havasu City, Arizona (population of 53,000), for the past two years. She served as finance director of Burien, Washington (population of 40,000), from 2008 to 2010; finance director of the Alderwood Water and Sewer District in Lynwood, Washington (population of 200,000), 2010 to 2014; and financial services director for Sedona, Arizona (population of 10,500), from 2014 to 2015.

The city is hosting a reception from 6-8 p.m. Friday at the Ute Theatre to provide an opportunity for city officials, business owners and residents to meet the city manager candidates. Attendees will be asked to provide feedback to Rifle City Council on the finalists.

The job is vacant because Matt Sturgeon, city manager since 2013 and a city employee for 15 years, left in May to become city manager of the Denver suburb of Centennial.

In August, interim City Manager Kimberly Bullen, who was Sturgeon’s assistant, resigned to become the Colorado northwest regional manager for the state Department of Local Affairs.

Davis Farrar, a veteran municipal official and contractor in the area who also is Collbran’s part-time city manager, has been working up to 24 hours a week at $80 an hour to help with the transition.

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