Gorgey hits ground running as interim city manager
Glenwood Springs Interim City Manager Andrew Gorgey capped a busy first two weeks at the helm with an explanation of his management style and a few introductory comments before City Council last Thursday.
“It’s a privilege to be here in this role, and it means a lot to me,” said Gorgey, who was installed as interim manager, replacing longtime former City Manager Jeff Hecksel, at a Dec. 3 meeting in what some council members considered a rushed process.
Since that time, “I have heard nothing but supportive comments from you to me,” he said.
Gorgey also took a moment to address recent news stories around accusations by council member Stephen Bershenyi of “secret” conversations among the council majority leading up to Gorgey’s hiring, calling it a “net positive.”
“The people don’t elect one council member, they elect seven and you’re not supposed to agree all the time,” Gorgey said.
“All that you were doing was, in part, defending the open meetings law,” he said.
“Speaking very passionately is just another way of defending Glenwood Springs and defending your beliefs,” Gorgey said.
Bershenyi’s concerns prompted an open records request by the Post Independent seeking any electronic communications outside of public meetings leading up to the decision.
That turned up a series of email communications among council members and city staff, including Hecksel, about the decision in August not to renew his contract and ultimately to hire Gorgey as his interim replacement before a previously agreed-to Feb. 1 departure date.
None of those communications appeared to violate Colorado’s open meetings laws.
As to his management approach for the interim until council selects a new permanent manager, Gorgey said he has met several times with city department heads and has attended advisory boards and commission meetings that have taken place.
“I believe very much in working around shared values,” Gorgey said. “But I also made the point that Drew’s values aren’t your values … leadership and management don’t work that way.”
Gorgey said he’s ready to roll up his sleeves on a variety of pressing city projects, many of them related to the Colorado Department of Transportation’s Grand Avenue bridge construction project, which starts the first week of January.
For the city’s part, that includes working closely with CDOT’s project team to reduce the impacts on the city and businesses as much as possible, he said.
Key city projects include preparing for the planned Eighth Street connection and planning for the eventual redevelopment of land near the confluence of the Roaring Fork and Colorado rivers. Planning and design for the Sixth Street streetscape work once the bridge is completed in early 2018 is also high on the list, he said.
Work is also under way to hire a consultant to help the city rewrite its land-use development code. Council will solicit proposals for that work in January and could sign a contract in February. The code rewrite itself is expected to be anywhere from a nine- to 18-month process, Gorgey said.
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