Steamboat Springs In a year that has seen critical city staff shortages for positions such as bus and snowplow drivers, the Howelsen Ice Arena also is looking for employees, including a new general manager.
Former ice rink manager Geary Baxter is no longer on the job as of Monday. City Manager Alan Lanning said Baxter was let go because of "a performance issue." Recreation Division Supervisor Susan Petersen is managing the ice rink on an interim basis. Baxter worked for the city for eight months.
"We have a period in the first part of a hire that allows us to evaluate the performance of an employee," Lanning said. "There's no guarantee of employment at any time. We are an at-will employer."
Chris Wilson, director of the city's Parks, Open Space and Recreation Department, said personnel restrictions prevent him from going into detail about Baxter's termination.
"We want to thank Geary for his efforts," Wilson said. "He made a hard go at it."
Wilson said the city would be advertising for a new ice rink manager soon. The facility already is advertising for positions including cashiers, evening supervisory roles, a program assistant and rink guards.
"The rest of the staff is supportive and pulling together to make sure we don't see any level of service drops," Wilson said. "It's a busy place, and we're covering it right now, and we're excited about getting the right mix of people. I would say we're not at a critical level."
Wilson said the staff shortages will require the rink to close on Christmas, a day it is traditionally open.
Lanning said the city is experiencing an annual turnover rate of 15 percent, or about 30 full-time employees a year. That, coupled with the difficulty of recruiting new employees due to Steamboat's high cost of living, makes it hard to fire anyone, Lanning said, even if there is a performance issue.
"Philosophically, our goal is to provide someone every opportunity possible to be successful," Lanning said.