Trading places |

Trading places

Heidi Rice
Special to the Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Kelley Cox Post Independent

You may see some familiar faces in town halls between New Castle and Rifle, but they might be in different positions or places.

In the past few months, the town of Silt hired a new town administrator, while the city of Rifle hired New Castle’s longtime town clerk and the town of New Castle hired Silt’s deputy clerk.

Hired at the end of August 2010 as the town’s newest administrator, Pamela Woods was formerly the town’s treasurer and assistant town administrator.

She is no stranger to government operations or the area.

Raised in Hotchkiss, Woods remembers traveling to Rifle and Glenwood Springs.

“I’ve always liked this area,” she said. “I have family in Parachute, Rifle and outside of Grand Junction.”

Woods is quick to smile and has an infectious laugh that you hear often, but she’s serious about her role as the town’s administrator and the responsibilities it carries.

She has an extensive background in state, county and municipal government. She served as a staff accountant for the state of Arizona, managed payroll and sales tax accounts for the city of Delta, and served as the finance director for the town of Olathe, where she was promoted to interim town administrator and human resources director.

“I was there for two years and then decided I wasn’t a good fit for their administrative position, but they kept me in the finance director and human resources position for another two years,” Woods said.

When she heard about an opening for the treasurer’s job in Silt, she was all over it.

She was hired and worked for former administrator Steve Stamey, who later promoted Woods to assistant town administrator in October 2010. He left shortly after that, and Woods was offered the job as town administrator in December.

Woods says she loves her new job and believes she is a good fit with the current town board.

“I’ve worked for numerous boards in the past, and I think different boards work with different personalities,” Woods said. “I have no problem with anyone on this board. We all seem to be moving in the same direction.”

Woods said the issues she sees facing the town are economic development and the poor job market. The best part about the job is working with the people of the town, while her most challenging part right now is getting completely up to speed on the issues.

As far as the goals she’d like to see for the town, Woods said those are still in the back of her mind until she gets to know the people and town a little better.

Married to Steve Woods, she has one son and two grandchildren and lives in Silt.

So if you hear laughter coming from the administration office at Silt Town Hall, it is likely Woods and the rest of the staff enjoying their jobs.

Anyone who has lived in New Castle is familiar with Lisa Cain, who served as the town clerk for 14 years.

But you won’t find Cain at the New Castle Town Hall any longer. She is now the city clerk and human resources director for the city of Rifle as of August 2010.

Cain and her husband, Tim, moved from the Denver area to New Castle in 1994, just when the town began growing rapidly.

“At that time the population was about 2,000,” Cain recalled. “By the time I left, it had doubled.”

During her tenure in New Castle, Cain saw plenty of residential and commercial development, including the construction of City Market, Alpine Bank, the New Castle Super Bowl, the rapid growth of the Castle Ranch Valley Ranch subdivision, the Lakota Canyon Ranch subdivision and golf course, and numerous restaurants and convenience stores.

She heard of the opening in Rifle when Rifle’s longtime city clerk, Wanda Nelson, contacted all the clerks in the area to inform them of her impending departure.

“I wanted to see what it would be like to work for a bigger organization that had more resources than New Castle,” Cain said. “This job offered a change, and it was great to get back into humans resources and risk management.”

During her tenure in New Castle, Cain had at one time served as both town administrator and town clerk, but relinquished the administrator duties once the town could afford more employees.

In a sense, her new job is on a larger scale, but some aspects are still the same as other clerks around Colorado.

“We all process licenses, we run elections and we provide support for our councils,” Cain said.

The difference is that with Rifle having more resources and a larger budget, Rifle can offer higher salaries and employ a larger staff.

One of Cain’s toughest issues is managing health insurance for city staff who are rushing to get medical procedures done in fear of losing their jobs.

“That’s driving up the costs,” Cain said. “We’re looking at some pretty hefty [health insurance] increases.”

Nevertheless, Cain loves working with the city staff, the council and the city manager.

“I wasn’t looking to make a change from New Castle. In fact, I intended to retire there,” she said. “But this was an opportunity and I didn’t have to leave the valley and it’s all working out pretty well.”

Cain lives in New Castle with her husband and two children.

Lisa Cain leaving her longtime position as town clerk in New Castle opened a new opportunity for Silt’s deputy town clerk, Melody Harrison, who is now the town clerk for New Castle.

Harrison started her new job in New Castle in October 2010, after spending eight years with the town of Silt in several different positions, including assistant planner and deputy town clerk.

She has attended three years of clerk school and is planning to get her Masters Municipal Clerk certification.

Her clerk’s job in New Castle is different than in Silt in that she reports directly to the town board, although she works with town administrator Andy Barton on day-to-day functions.

Harrison supervises two other positions – the utility billing clerk and the municipal clerk.

The job – which entails a lot of detail dealing with public notices, town records and utility billing – suits her just fine.

“I like everything about detail, analytical stuff and the responsibility,” Harrison admitted. “I like the daily challenge with the code books and the rules.”

If she had to pick the thing she wasn’t the craziest about, it would probably be late-night meetings.

Harrison said the biggest issues she sees currently facing New Castle are the budget and the lack of development.

“Right now we need to focus on budget and economic development and what we can do to keep businesses here and bring businesses to town,” she said.

“And we’re still waiting to hear whether the legislature is going to take away our severance tax payment,” she added.

When she’s not putting long hours in at town hall, Harrison and her husband, Bradley, share a home on Silt Mesa with two of their six children, along with four dogs, six cats and two horses. All of their pets are rescued animals, except for one of the horses.

When time allows, Harrison like to garden, can food, paint, make jewelry and ride her horses.

Although her new job will keep her busy, she’s says she’s in it for the long haul.

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