Aspen City Manager Steve Barwick resigns after 19 years | PostIndependent.com

Aspen City Manager Steve Barwick resigns after 19 years

Carolyn Sackariason
The Aspen Times
Aspen City Manager Steve Barwick and the City Council have negotiated his first-ever employment contract. It is up for council approval on Monday.
Aspen Times file

Steve Barwick, who has been the Aspen City Manager since 1999, is resigning from his post, it was announced Monday night.

Aspen Mayor Steve Skadron said on Monday that a majority of City Council asked for Barwick’s resignation, which he agreed to in an executive session.

Barwick has worked for 25 years with the city, first as the finance director and assistant city manager, and then as city manager for 19 years. His annual salary is $195,228.

In a guest commentary sent to The Aspen Timeson Monday night, Barwick wrote: “The city of Aspen has had plenty of controversy over the past several decades and it will continue. It’s in our nature because Aspen is a unique community.”

According to his employment agreement signed in 2010, if Barwick was terminated he would be eligible for a severance package of a year’s salary and accrued vacation and sick time.

The employment agreement also says that if Barwick resigns the agreement is terminated, provided that he give council not less than 30 days notice prior to the notice of resignation.

The terms of a separation agreement will be finalized at a later date, as will the details of when he will leave the position permanently.

Those details will be discussed in a future public hearing, Skadron said.

In the coming weeks council will meet to discuss the interim and long-term plan for handling the vacancy.

After council’s executive session, Barwick went to his office but returned about a half hour later to the regular council meeting Monday night.

Council moved Barwick’s performance review up a couple of months in the wake of controversy and public criticism centered around a few initiatives that came out of City Hall in the past year.

One of them is a public-private partnership to build 45 affordable apartments, which led to the resignation of Assistant City Manager Barry Crook, whose last day is today.

With Crook and Barwick out, that leaves Assistant City Manager Sara Ott as the sole manager in the City Manager’s Office.

In a statement issued Monday night, Skadron praised Barwick for his work as a public servant.

“I feel fortunate to have been a mayor during Steve Barwick’s tenure and his experience is something I’ve relied upon,” Skadron said in the statement. “I’ve always respected his calm, thoughtful and insightful guidance, particularly in emotionally and politically charged times.

“Steve Barwick’s work in many areas including environmental stewardship, housing, transportation and creating financial stability have made Aspen a city that others turn to for exemplary leadership,” Skadron continued. “His commitment over 25 years and the people he’s hired, the services and values they embody are a large reason why so many people are drawn to this exceptional city as a community and a resort.”

This is a developing story that will be updated.