District 2 race pits professional organizer against city manager


— There is no shortage of administrative and professional experience in the race for a District 2 seat on the Steamboat Springs City Council.

Paul Hughes, 64, served as Steamboat Springs' city manager from 1998 to December 2005, capping more than two decades of service in municipal government. Meg Bentley, 63, is a founder of The Playworks Preschool, a co-owner of Steamboat Aviation, and a former member of the Steamboat Springs Planning Commission and Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club's Board of Directors.

In forums leading up to Election Day, Bentley has admitted that she is "not a politician" and addressed what Hughes has claimed to be his greatest advantage: experience.

"Experience managing a municipality does not translate into being a really responsive member of City Council," Bentley said Oct. 15.

Bentley has spoken at great lengths about her support of growth management legislation. At a forum hosted by the Rotary Club of Steamboat Springs, she raised concerns about the amount of mixed-use development being approved by the city and the potential effect it could have on existing and already struggling businesses.

"Why should we add to that pressure by permitting too much competition too fast?" Bentley asked.

Hughes has been an outspoken critic of Steamboat's current City Council.

"I believe I can help restore integrity, competence and credibility to a council that could use all three," Hughes said Oct. 10.

Hughes said his knowledge of city resources, staffing and policies would be an enormous asset for the City Council.

"I know more about municipal operations in general, and Steamboat Springs operations in particular, than any other council candidate or any existing council member," Hughes said. "I gained that knowledge in 35 years as a manager, 21 of them in municipal government, and seven of those as the city manager right here. : I believe that my experience can provide City Council with expertise that it has never had before."

Do less, better

Bentley focused on her professional experience in a variety of work environments.

"I know what it is like to own a business here," Bentley said. "I have been in the lodging business : and started a consulting business based in Steamboat Springs. My statewide business and personal coaching consulting specializes in space design, clutter control and time management."

Bentley and Hughes are both working to improve conditions in the workplace. Bentley is a professional organizer, and Hughes is starting a mediation practice - a skill he hopes to bring to City Council.

"I'd like to approach community issues as problems to be solved by all, rather than as positions to be defended by some people against others," Hughes said. "I'd like to work within the Vision 2030 process to see what the community's clear vision is for the next 20 to 30 years. : Finally, I'd like council to do less, but to do it better."

Bentley also cited a desire to increase the efficiency of Steamboat's chief governing body.

"I would like to continue to streamline the workings of City Council," Bentley said. "Over and above that, I think the time has come to follow the suggestions of the Growth Management Team from the 2004 Steamboat Springs Area Community Plan to manage 'rate and timing' of development in the city. I would also like to increase the range of workforce housing choices and opportunities."

Bentley and Hughes said they hold a deep love for the Yampa Valley. Bentley is an avid camper, skier and snowshoer with interests including cooking, green building and landscaping. Hughes said he enjoys tennis, skiing and "everything about every season here."

Brandon Gee contributed to this article.

- To reach Mike Lawrence, call 871-4203

or e-mail mlawrence@steamboatpilot.com


stmbtisoutofcontrol 9 years, 6 months ago

If elected, I hope that Paul will correct the mistreatments that he too has suffered under the current City Council. As I remember, Paul was treated with very little respect for his good years of service. I hope that Paul or Meg will encourage good communication, accountability and transparency back into the City structure. Arrogance has a way of permeating from the top down into the the rest of City staff. Let us hope that Meg or Paul will work hard to correct this situation.


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