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City manager search goes from three finalists to none

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” The search for a city manager candidate fell apart Friday, opening up the possibility that Glenwood Springs could be without an administrative head this spring.

As of Thursday evening, there were still two finalists who seemed ready to take over the reins of the city ” Gunnison city manager Mark Collins and Basalt deputy town manager Betsy Suerth.

But on Friday morning, Collins surprised Glenwood Springs human resources director Sebrina Hoffmeister by telling her he was no longer interested in taking the job.



Collins didn’t give specifics on his decision other than saying it was for “personal and professional reasons.”

“Things just didn’t work out the way we’d hoped,” he told the Post Independent on Friday. “I think it’s best for all parties involved.”



On Friday afternoon Mayor Larry Emery said he took an informal telephone poll of all the other members of council and said the general consensus was that, “We are going to start this process over again,” he said.

“We’re going to go back and look at the hiring process and see if we can do a better job,” Emery said. “When you have five final candidates and four remove themselves from the process, there’s a problem.”

After council had narrowed the field to five finalists, two withdrew before it began conducting interviews. Doug Williams, village manager for Winnetka, Ill., was among the final three but withdrew his application Feb. 11.

Suerth was contacted by Hoffmeister on Friday afternoon and told of council’s decision.

“I’m surprised and disappointed,” she said.

Suerth also said she would not vie for the position a second time.

“Glenwood has chosen to go out and look for more candidates,” she said. “I think that’s a pretty clear rejection.”

Emery said he doesn’t think “that any decision that was made reflects on Betsy.”

“I think we’d rather choose a candidate from a position of strength rather than from necessity,” he said.

Emery said the city’s goal is to find a new city manager before current city manager Mike Copp retires on April 30, but if that doesn’t happen, it’s not a major concern.

“We have very strong department heads,” he said.

As for the likelihood of the city going without a city manager for some period of time, Emery said, “I think it very well could.”

Why withdraw?

Williams, the Illinois candidate, told his local newspaper in Winnetka that Glenwood’s “poor financial situation” was the main reason he withdrew his candidacy.

According to a story in the Winnetka Talk, Williams said Glenwood Springs “is facing a number of negative economic obstacles.”

In an interview with the Post Independent on Friday, Williams said the decision to withdraw his name was a difficult one.

“I just feel there’s tough times ahead,” he said. “I am kind of in the end of my career and I want to work in a positive situation.”

Williams’ salary in Winnetka is $156,984, so the Colorado job would have meant a pay cut of about $50,000.

Williams told the Talk he applied for the job last November because his father, who lives near Glenwood Springs, is ill. He said he hadn’t applied for other jobs and now plans to stay in Winnetka.

Contact Greg Masse: 945-8515, ext. 511

gmasse@postindependent.com


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