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Steamboat Springs Finance Director Lisa Rolan resigned from the city of Steamboat Springs on Tuesday afternoon, the same day that a county manager in North Carolina announced he had hired Rolan to be his finance officer.
In a telephone interview with the Steamboat Pilot & Today on Wednesday, Rolan confirmed her resignation, effective Jan. 5, but said she did not have a new job lined up or plans to move.
"Right now, I don't know what I'm going to do," she said. "I'm just going to enjoy my life."
But a local newspaper in Montgomery County, N.C., reported Wednesday that Rolan was hired as county finance officer and hopes to start Jan. 12. Rolan could not be reached Wednesday evening to respond to the Montgomery Herald article.
The Herald reported that Rolan is a native of nearby Asheboro, N.C., and that her husband, Steve, also is from North Carolina. The couple has two children.
"I wanted to get back to my roots," the Montgomery Herald quoted Rolan as saying.
The newspaper article also stated that Montgomery County Manager Lance Metzler announced Rolan's hiring Tuesday. It is not clear when Rolan actually was offered the job, when she accepted it or whether she misled interim City Manager Wendy DuBord. Rolan told DuBord that she did not have another job when she tendered her resignation Tuesday afternoon, according to DuBord.
"She said she didn't. That's what she relayed to me," DuBord said Wednesday evening. "I guess she could have been offered the job in the last 24 hours."
DuBord said she asked Rolan why she needed to leave so soon. DuBord had hoped to keep Rolan around long enough to guide the Steamboat Springs City Council through a new and complex process early next year to prioritize city services. The goal is to use the ranked list to address potential revenue shortfalls by cutting services from the bottom up. Rolan said that while she had only job "options," she had no desire to stay with the city after Jan. 5, according to DuBord.
Rolan would not be specific Wednesday about why she has decided to leave Steamboat.
"I just no longer fit," she said.
Rolan was hired by former City Manager Alan Lanning in February and started in March. In the midst of a dismal economy and ongoing discussions regarding the 2009 city budget, Rolan's departure will leave the city without a permanent finance director or city manager. Another city department head, City Clerk Julie Jordan, was put on an involuntary and indefinite leave of absence last month for undisclosed reasons. DuBord would not say Wednesday whether Jordan still is on leave or whether she still is employed by the city. She did say the city is painfully shorthanded.
"It makes our lives a lot more difficult," DuBord said. "It means everybody is going to be working very hard and putting in a lot of hours at a very difficult time. It may mean that things happen a little slower."
One of those things likely is to be the hiring of Rolan's successor, a process that may not begin until after the Steamboat Springs City Council hires a new city manager. Finalist interviews for that position are scheduled for early January.
Rolan filled the city's finance director position after it had been open since former Finance Director Don Taylor was let go by Lanning in July 2007. Taylor now is the finance director for the city of Aspen.
DuBord said Assistant Finance Director Bob Litzau has agreed to serve as interim finance director. Litzau served in the same capacity between Taylor's and Rolan's tenures.
Rolan left a previous job with the city of Columbia, S.C., under similarly vague circumstances. She resigned - with severance pay - from that city in January after 18 months on the job. In March, Rolan said politics played a big role, but she did not want to be more specific.
Rolan's exact salary with the city of Steamboat Springs was not immediately available. But, according to a pay plan in the city's 2008 adopted budget, her position would earn $82,171 to $109,755, and DuBord thought her salary was closer to the high end of the range. She will earn $72,000 a year in Montgomery County.
Since arriving in Steamboat, Rolan and her family have lived in city-owned employee housing at the Iron Horse Inn. Rolan said three of her attempts to purchase a home since March fell through.
Rolan has clashed with the City Council in recent months about issues including 2009 sales tax projections and issues involving building-use tax and building permit fees. DuBord and council members said they admired her boldness in disagreeing with and challenging council members.
"She came in a really tough period," DuBord said. "She told people things they didn't want to hear in a tough economy. She was great at doing that, and that's what the city needed."
Councilman Steve Ivancie agreed.
"I think she's been a wonderful addition to the staff," he said. "I think she's been very courageous and up front with us. That's just what an organization like this city needs. : I'm certainly not happy to see this development. This is one of the last things we need."
Others noted that Rolan seemed to be frustrated in recent months.
"I think there's certainly been times when she's been at odds with the council," Councilman Jon Quinn said. "And there's been times that she's been given policy direction by the council that she didn't particularly like. My only criticism of her would be that I think she took it more personally than she should have. I'm not sure if it's productive to take it personally."