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City gets look at who might lead it

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” Five months after city manager Mike Copp announced his plans to retire, the search for his successor is almost over.

The three finalists for the job arrived in Glenwood Springs Tuesday for a long day of interviews and schmoozing.

Glenwood Springs human resources director Sebrina Hoffmeister, who orchestrated the manager search, said things ran smoothly on Tuesday.



The three candidates ” Mark Collins of Gunnison, Basalt deputy town manager Betsy Suerth, and Doug Williams of Winnetka, Ill. ” each spent some time with Copp, then they were separately interviewed by City Council for about 1 1/2 hours each.

“We got lots of information from all the candidates and that’s what we’re processing,” she said.



“Tonight we’re looking for public input,” she said before Tuesday night’s open house.

Around 20 city residents showed up at the Glenwood Springs Community Center to meet the candidates. Mike Blair, who often attends City Council meetings to give his input on the goings-on in Glenwood Springs, said he was impressed by the stable of candidates.

“The candidates seem to be open and enjoyable to me,” he said. “I wouldn’t know who to choose because I don’t know their technical background.”

City Councilman Dave Merritt said he couldn’t discuss the specifics of what went on during Tuesday’s executive session, but he said the interviews went well and he said he’d be interested to see what the public thinks of each candidate.

“We’ve got very good candidates. We started with 60 and now we’re down to three,” Merritt said. “It kind of feels like the home stretch now.”

Each of the candidates was surrounded by city staffers and area residents eager to get to know them a bit.

Suerth, who lives in Glenwood Springs, said it was interesting to learn more about issues that are going on in her city from City Council members during her interview.

“They seem to be working together well, so far; that’s exciting for me,” she said. “To be able to work with a council with different talents and different viewpoints, it’s a good way for a legislative body to be.”

Each of the candidates commented on how thorough the selection process has been.

“I’m not sure I’ve seen a process like this recently,” Suerth said. “They asked great questions and they were obviously well thought out.”

Williams arrived in the area last week so he could spend some time with his dad in Meeker before the interview.

“I’ve driven all over and I’m very impressed with the city,” he said. “Clearly you’ve made some investments and it’s clear people care.”

Williams said he’s interviewed for four jobs and Glenwood’s interview process has been the most comprehensive.

“And a little stressful,” he added.

Collins was also flanked by interested citizens and staff members throughout Tuesday’s hour-and-a-half meet-and-greet. He said he felt good about his interviews and he was excited at the prospect of managing Glenwood Springs.

“It just reinforced some of the ideas I had of Glenwood Springs,” he said. “I think that there was an awareness that there are a lot of similarities between (Gunnison and Glenwood Springs).”

One main difference is the relative sizes of both the budget and staff. Glenwood Springs is about double Gunnison on both counts.

“There are some very exciting things that are not only here, but that are going to continue to come,” he said.

Mayor Larry Emery said he’s happy with the way the selection process has gone and he thinks quality candidates were chosen.

But he wasn’t sure when the final cut would be made.

City Council will meet today to further consider the candidates.

“I think we’ll have a better feel for that after (Wednesday’s) meeting,” he said. “There may be a good consensus at that meeting or we may be all over the board.”

Contact: Greg Masse 945-8515, ext. 511

gmasse@postindependent.com


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