Nichols leaving Rifle city manager post after just three months |

Nichols leaving Rifle city manager post after just three months

Similar departure at previous job in Nevada

Jim Nichols

Rifle will again be without a city manager this spring as the City Council announced on Thursday that it has signed a separation agreement with City Manager Jim Nichols after only three months together.

Nichols signed on for a two and half year term with the city in November of last year following an extensive search to replace former manager Matt Sturgeon. Terms of the city’s separation agreement with Nichols are being finalized, the city said in a press release.

Yet another search for an interim city manager, as well as a permanent replacement, will begin immediately. Rifle Police Chief Tommy Klein has assumed the role of acting city manager.

Reasons for the city’s separation with Nichols were not made public. Nichols could not be immediately reached for comment.

In a conversation with the Post Independent on Thursday, Mayor Barbara Clifton said she was limited because it is a personnel matter, but that there was a realization on both sides that it was not a good fit.

"We have to move forward," she added.

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Nichols came to Rifle from Douglas County, Nevada, where he worked as county manager for a little over a year from September 2014 until January 2016. He also was dismissed from that job under a mutual separation agreement with Douglas County commissioners. According to a Jan. 21, 2016 article in the Gardnerville, Nev. Record-Courier, Nichols was to receive $115,346 in severance, which amounted to six months salary plus accrued medical and vacation.

Prior to taking the Rifle job, Nichols had been a teacher in China for a year and a half.

Rifle was in search of a new city manager after Sturgeon left to become the city manager of the Denver suburb of Centennial after working for Rifle for 11 years in various capacities. He was Rifle’s city manager from May 2013 to May 2017.

Former Rifle assistant manager Kimberly Bullen then became Rifle’s interim city manager for several months before she accepted a job to be the Colorado northwest manager for the state Department of Local Affairs.

Following Bullen’s departure, the city hired Davis Farrar to help with the transition. Farrar had decades of experience working in the area, including working as town manager of Carbondale and interim manager for Basalt and Silt.