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Hecksel asks if council wants him to stay

Jeff Hecksel
Staff Photo |

Glenwood Springs City Manager Jeff Hecksel has asked City Council to decide whether it wants him to stay on in that capacity or make plans to move on.

Hecksel, whose future with the city after 11 years came under question following the April election of two new council members, is now calling the question himself.

In a recent memo, Hecksel asks if council desires to give the required one-year’s notice of non-renewal by Sept. 1 as spelled out in his contract, or terminate his contract with nine months’ severance pay.

Without action, his rolling two-year contract would automatically renew for another two years on Sept. 1, 2016.

“This is the time when the seated City Council has normally discussed providing me with a notice of non-renewal,” Hecksel indicated in a June 30 memo to council, which was made public this week as part of the packet for the regular Thursday council meeting.

If that is council’s desire, Hecksel’s employment would end in one year.

“The option allows council to pursue a new city manager without having to provide severance pay,” he said in his memo to council.

Council has scheduled a morning executive session to discuss Hecksel’s contract. An action item is on the regular agenda for tonight’s City Council meeting.

Under the rules for executive sessions involving personnel matters, the affected employee has the right to request that it occur in open session. Hecksel could not be reached Wednesday for comment in advance of today’s meetings.

In early May, council called a special meeting to review the contracts of three city employees who are directly hired by council: the city manager, city attorney and municipal judge.

Following a four-hour executive session, council accepted the forced resignation of former City Attorney Jan Shute and decided to eliminate the staff attorney position in favor of a contract arrangement for city legal counsel.

Shute was awarded six months’ severance pay under the terms of her $104,832 annual contract.

No action was taken at the time regarding Hecksel’s or Municipal Judge Vic Zerbi’s contracts. Mayor Mike Gamba said at the time that it’s common for council to review the contracts of top city officials whenever there is a change in council membership.

Gamba did say he and other council members had raised some concerns during the last performance review for Hecksel. Newly elected Councilwoman Kathy Trauger had also indicated during her campaign that a review of the city manager’s contract and other city employees would be one of her priorities.

Neither Gamba nor Trauger could be reached for comment for this story.

Hecksel’s contract was amended last year to provide for nine months’ severance should his employment be terminated, rather than 12 months as stated in his renegotiated 2010 contract.

The contract still specifies that notice of non-renewal without severance must be given a full year in advance. Hecksel is currently paid $130,874 per year.

In late May, Hecksel was named one of three finalists for the open city manager’s job in the western Colorado city of Delta. The city council there later decided to pass on all three finalists and start the search again.


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