Gorgey named new Garfield County manager
John StroudPost Independent StaffGLENWOOD SPRINGS – Garfield County commissioners have decided that the man for the county manager’s job is the one who’s been doing the work for the past five months as acting manager.The Garfield Board of County Commissioners voted unanimously at a special meeting Thursday to hire Andrew Gorgey as the new county manager. He replaces former manager Ed Green, who was dismissed in January after 14 years with the county.Gorgey, 47, was hired in May 2011 as the county attorney. He has been serving in a dual capacity since Jan. 3 as county attorney and acting manager.Gorgey will officially assume duties as full-time manager on June 1. Gorgey and the commissioners agreed to an 18-month contract with an annual salary of $145,000. That’s about $12,000 more per year than Green had been making when he was let go.”County manager is one of the ultimate public service positions, and I would like the opportunity to serve the citizens of Garfield County in that capacity,” Gorgey said in accepting his new job.Meanwhile, the commissioners appointed assistant county attorney Carey Gagnon as acting county attorney for the interim.The county’s search efforts will now turn to finding a new county attorney, using the same head-hunting firm it retained to conduct the county manager search, Peckham & McKenney Executive Search Consultants of California. The county hopes to have a new county attorney on board by late summer or early fall.The move to hire Gorgey as county manager reversed a decision earlier this week by the commissioners to resume their search for a new county manager over the summer.In early April, after extensive interviews and a public reception with five finalists for the manager position, the commissioners rejected all five, saying none of them would be the right fit for Garfield County.”When we didn’t select a county manager then, one reason was because we already had someone to compare them to,” Commissioner Tom Jankovsky said of Gorgey’s interim efforts.”I really felt we didn’t have any candidates of the same caliber as we have right now with Drew,” Jankovsky said.
Gorgey admitted he will miss his role as an attorney, since legal work has consumed most of his professional career. But he embraced his new role as county manager.”This is an excellent challenge for me … and an opportunity for professional growth,” he said. “I believe I will be an excellent county manager, who will bring a business sense and a knowledge of local government, as well as leadership and communication skills to the job.”Gorgey will remain in his dual role as county attorney and acting manager until May 31, and will continue to assist the legal department as needed until a new lead county attorney is hired.In addition to receiving the support of the three commissioners, Gorgey earned endorsements from two other county elected officials and other department heads.”My staff and I support this move,” Garfield County Treasurer Georgia Chamberlain said at the Thursday meeting. “Ever since Andrew came to the county he has been supportive of all the elected officials, and has challenged us to provide the best services to the citizens of Garfield County.”Sheriff Lou Vallario said his office works closely with both the county attorney and the county manager, “so I do have a stake in the game,” he said.”I think the criteria you are looking for in a county manager you have right here,” Vallario said of Gorgey.”You can only burn the candle at both ends at the same time for so long,” he said of Gorgey’s efforts to juggle two different jobs over the past five months.County Commission Chairman John Martin said the possibility of having Gorgey formally take over as county manager was discussed with county Human Resources Director Katherine Ross soon after the board rejected the five manager finalists on April 2.Ross endorsed the move, saying it will bring stability to county administration rather than having the uncertainty of a continued search for a new manager, which could take between three and six months.”You have someone here who you’ve already hired, and who has proven he can do the job,” Ross said of Gorgey.This will be Gorgey’s first position in public administration not involving legal work. Prior to coming to Garfield County, he was the first assistant county attorney for El Paso County, having worked in the county attorney’s office there since 2002.Gorgey has a law degree from the University of South Carolina and spent two years in private practice before joining the El Paso County legal staff. He lived in Colorado Springs for 24 years prior to his move to Garfield County.Gagnon, 36, takes over as interim county attorney after having joined the Garfield County Attorney’s Office in October 2010. After graduating from the University of Denver Law School in 2003, Gagnon was a law clerk for a federal district court judge in Denver and worked for two large private law firms on the Front Range.email@example.com
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