Glenwood Springs city manager search continues

This article previously reported the Glenwood Springs city attorney’s compensation incorrectly. The cost of both searches along with Karl Hanlon’s compensation for 25 hours of work came to $38,000 altogether.

The second round of a search for a new Glenwood Springs city manager collected more applicants than the previous round. 

“A high number of those, probably 70%, met minimum qualifications, and most of those had preferred qualifications that you guys were looking for,” City Attorney Karl Hanlon said at the Nov. 17 Glenwood Springs City Council meeting. 

City Council agreed on Sept. 21 to continue the search for the new city manager after deciding that the three finalists in the previous round of applicants were not the ideal fit. Council voted to continue the search and increase the salary to see if the city could get a larger and more diverse pool of applicants. 

Hanlon said that the city received about 32 applicants in this round, which is more than the original 26 applicants received for the first round of searches. He also said that this pool has more of the qualities the council is looking for. 

“It represents a nice, diverse group with an interesting set of backgrounds,” he said.

Jen Ooton, the assistant city manager since 2017 and employee to the city since 2016, was one of the finalists who council did not choose. After taking another job opportunity in Aspen, Ooton worked her last day Nov. 15. 

While working for the city, Ooton was named the 2020 Assistant City Manager of the Year by the Colorado City and County Management Association. 

Ooton also held the role of community development director, with Hannah Klausman filling her shoes as the acting community development director. Klausman has worked for the city for six years and was most recently titled as the assistant director of economic and community development. 

The manager search was set to cost the city more than $20,000 and an additional $15,000, but when Steve Boyd, the acting city manager and chief operating officer, broke down the numbers, the search didn’t end up costing that much. 

Boyd explained in an email that the contract between the city and the firm hired to conduct the search, KRM Associates, was appropriated up to $22,500 in May. 

Since there were fewer applicants than expected during the first round, there was less time and money spent on ranking, interviewing and more.

“So they actually spent $13,500,” Boyd wrote. “We signed a change order that adds $8,500 to the original amount, so the maximum cost for both searches is $31,000 plus around $1,500 in reimbursables.”

The total cost of both searches including legal fees is $38,000.

“If we subtract that amount from our savings, (former city manager Debra Figueroa’s) absence will end up increasing our general fund balance by $50,000 in 2022,” Boyd wrote. 

On a monthly basis, Figueroa earned $17,300 in salary/housing, Boyd wrote. Her monthly benefits cost $4,500 all together, adding up to a sum of  about $21,800. He then multiplied that sum by 5.75 to account for the time she has been gone until the end of the year which came to $125,400.

“My stipend is $37,400,” he said. “We save $15,000 per month by not having Debra, which saves us $87,000 in the 2022 general fund budget.”

Although there are open positions at the city many have been filled recently, including a systems IT analyst, an HR administrator and a deputy clerk and courts administrator. There are also two good candidates for the transportation manager, Boyd said at last week’s council meeting.

“We’re making some real progress in terms of getting staffed up, and we’re getting closer and closer all the time,” he said. 

During the council meeting Boyd also brought up city staff morale and how it is higher than he has ever seen it. Conducting a survey study and bumping pay 5% over the summer, along with bumping pay 5% again going into 2023 made many city staff employees feel supported. 

“That is not going unnoticed by our staff and it’s made it easier for us to recruit. So thank you guys for that,” he said. “I just want to make sure that you knew that our staff really appreciate that. It feels very supported by city hall right now.”

Post Independent reporter Cassandra Ballard can be reached at or 970-384-9131.

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