Steamboat Springs Routt County has found its new manager, a confessed workaholic who won't even take time off between his current job and his new job.
"The way I work, you don't take breaks really," said Tom Sullivan during a telephone interview from his Kansas home.
And that's the kind of attitude that helped make Sullivan the "No. 1 choice" for everyone on the interview committee, said County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak.
Sullivan has worked as the Barton County, Kan., administrator for five years. The county is located in a rural area of central Kansas.
It is similar in population to Routt County.
Sullivan will be pulling in $82,000 a year compared to his Kansas salary of $60,900 a year.
Coincidentally, Sullivan and his wife were looking to buy land in Colorado when they first saw the advertisement for the Routt County manager.
"I thought it would be a good approach for us, but you can't make a decision based on aesthetic things," Sullivan said about the beauty of Routt County.
So Sullivan went to work on reading four months of minutes from the commission meetings before making his decision to apply for the job.
Commissioners said his research made an impression and paid off during the interviews.
"He spoke with (commissioner) Dan Ellison after seeing the advertisement. He even called and talked to the (Steamboat Springs) city manager to find out what's going on in the county," Stahoviak said.
"It really showed up in the responses to our questions."
Commissioners Doug Monger and Ellison agreed.
"He seemed very knowledgeable and articulate and responded quickly to the questions we asked," Ellison said.
Monger said all of Sullivan's references said he worked well with others and "doesn't try to bulldoze things" through.
Sullivan praised the Routt County commissioners as being "progressive" and said he was impressed with the county's work on community master plans. Sullivan's home county has also implemented community master plans.
He has also faced some of the issues Routt County is facing now, including affordable housing and development issues.
Sullivan's work in Routt County will be similar to what he does in Kansas. He meets with the county commissioners, running the day-to-day operations while managing the county employees.
Sullivan said he also considers the public his boss.
"Local government is the government closest to the citizens and where we can most impact people's lives," he said.
Sullivan said Routt County can depend on his drive to get things done.
"I don't leave things undone. If there's a void somewhere, I fill it."
That comes as great news for Routt County, which hasn't had a county manager since the mid-1980s. The commissioners have been picking up most of the slack.
"I'll be more relieved when he gets here," Ellison said.
"One thing's for sure, I won't be doing a lot of interviews," Monger said, adding that he is excited about handing over resumes to Sullivan.
"I've done more damn interviews here than I've done in the past eight years," he said good-naturedly.
Sullivan plans to start work March 26, just days after his last day on the job in Kansas.
As for the change in weather, the 50-year-old Kansan is not foreign to snow. He said Barton County gets about 30 inches a year; they just don't have the mountains.
Sullivan has a master's degree in public administration from Wichita State University and a BA in political science.
His wife, Mary, is a loan processing officer. They have two sons ages 25 and 26.
"Both our sons are excited about our move," Sullivan said.
"I think skiing and snowboarding will be a new passion they will try to develop."
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