Bullen leaving Rifle assistant city manager post
Even as the search for a new Rifle city manager continues, the position of assistant city manager will soon be vacant. Current interim City Manager Kimberly Bullen officially announced her resignation to City Council last week.
She will become the Colorado northwest regional manager for the state Department of Local Affairs.
“It’s been an absolute privilege working for the city of Rifle, working for City Council, and working with city staff,” Bullen said Wednesday. “This is a great organization and a great community.”
In May, City Manager Matt Sturgeon resigned after 15 years with Rifle to become city manager of the Denver suburb of Centennial. He had been city manager since May 2013 after also being assistant city manager.
Bullen told council that the search for Sturgeon’s successor is progressing with the candidate profile sent out on Aug. 11.
The position is “being advertised in a variety of places, primarily where city managers are looking for new opportunities,” she told the council.
In June, the city hired executive recruiting firm Slavin Management Consultant to conduct the search. The terms of the agreement capped the firm’s pay at $28,000. Expenses included travel, advertising, telephone bills, background checks, supplies and more.
Consultants with the firm met with council members and community leaders to understand what they were looking for in a city manager and created a profile.
“I would anticipate somewhere near the end of September we will be setting up interviews for the new city manager,” Bullen predicted. “I would anticipate maybe by the end of October when a new city manager will be selected.”
In the meantime, the city hired part-time Collbran City Manager Davis Farrar to help with the transition. Farrar has decades of experience working up and down the Roaring Fork Valley, including six months spent as interim planning director for Rifle.
He added that he spent time as interim manager for Basalt from Feb. to July, where he was involved in their hiring process of a new town manager.
“Because we don’t have a city manager and our interim city manager is leaving, we [looked] for an interim city manager while undergoing the city manager search, which could take another month or two,” City Attorney Jim Neu told council. “Davis Farrar has been in the valley since the late ’70s… [and] has all the necessary experience to be an interim town manager.
“I’m happy he’s available and willing to do it, because he’s a good fit,” Neu said.
Farrar’s contract stipulates that he will be with Rifle for a maximum of four months and will work out of City Hall at least three days per week on an average of 24 hours per week. He will be paid $80 per hour.
“I will be there for a couple of months to essentially keep everything moving forward,” he said.
“I think it is especially important to have someone with experience while we are going through the budget process just to keep that on track,” said council member Barbara Clifton.
Bullen indicated that the city will prioritize the city manager search and will help Farrar with the transition. Her last day will be Sept. 1.
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