Rifle city manager to transition out of position | PostIndependent.com

Rifle city manager to transition out of position

Rifle police chief to serve as interim manager

Rifle City Manager Scott Hahn holds a sign during a “Hello Rodeo” event put on by the Rifle Humanity Restoration Crew in fall 2020.
Ray K. Erku / Post Independent

Rifle City Manager Scott Hahn plans to transition out of his position over the next several months, according to a city of Rifle news release.

“Rifle is an awesome community that I am proud to have served and represented. The citizens and city of Rifle staff are second to none,” Hahn said in the release.

Hahn did not provide a reason for his upcoming departure to The Citizen Telegram on Friday, but he said that it’s moving forward in a “positive” way.

“I’m just looking forward to getting some rest,” he said, sitting in his office at City Hall.

Hahn will be assisting Chief of Police Tommy Klein who will serve as interim city manager for the next several months, the release states.

Klein confirmed on Friday he’ll start as interim city manager Aug. 1. The Rifle City Council will vote on Hahn’s resignation Aug. 4.

Hahn’s departure comes only three months away from the next election cycle. With five Rifle City Council seats up for election in November, including mayor Barbara Clifton, a new city manager will have a different set of bosses after the election.

A city manager is hired and appointed by the City Council.

Meanwhile, the city recently replaced its planning director and city clerk. Former planning director Nathan Lindquist was replaced by new hire Patrick Waller while former clerk Kristy Doll was replaced by Misty Williams.

“The chief coming in will be a great help, but we lost Nathan (Lindquist), we lost our clerk and now we’re losing our manager,” City Council Member Brian Condie said. “(They’re) all voluntary separations. I mean, nobody got fired or anything.

Every departure and replacement have taken place in 2021.

“But Chief Klein has been there for a while, and I think he’ll bring in that calming influence,” Condie said.

Condie said he wants strategic planning to focus on employee retention and benefits and that Klein and the City Council’s job is to assure staff that they’re moving forward and still appreciated.

Condie said he hopes other city employees choose to stay during this period of transition.

“How can you have economic growth if your staff is leaving you?” he said. “You’ve got to right the ship before you can arrange the deck chairs.”

During Hahn’s tenure, he’s led Rifle through a number of major construction projects, including the municipal pool and the ongoing downtown revitalization project, which for months has shut down traffic in the downtown area.

He is also the founder of the city of Rifle Humanity Restoration Crew, an effort started in 2020. It is a group created to encourage people to reconnect with each other.

“Not to mention the ‘Smile, Greet and Wave’ signs in every neighborhood and the nearly 100,000 people who watched his humorous videos,” the release states. “Scott’s efforts at increasing communication and creating an environment of friendliness and inclusivity can’t be understated.”

Hahn originally replaced Rifle City Manager Jim Nichols on a two-year $140,000 contract July 23, 2018. Nichols served just three months after taking over for longtime city manager Matt Sturgeon.

Hahn’s current contract is for $144,759.

Prior to coming to Rifle, Hahn worked as the borough manager for the town of Skagway, Alaska.

He’s also worked for the cities of Erie and Hayden and has been a longtime resident of Colorado, living in both the Western Slope and Front Range.

He originally grew up in Iowa but received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Northern Colorado and his master’s from the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Reporter Ray K. Erku can be reached at 612-423-5273 or rerku@citizentelegram.com.

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