Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Jon Roberts will be hired today as Steamboat Springs' next city manager, barring any last-minute changes of heart by members of the Steamboat Springs City Council.
A contract between the city and Roberts is on the agenda for this evening's council meeting, which Roberts plans to participate in with other officials from Victorville, Calif., where he currently is city manger.
Reached on Friday and Monday, a majority of Steamboat Springs council members said they continue to wholeheartedly support Roberts. After a public interview of Roberts - the city's sole finalist for the position of city manager - on Wednesday, council voted 6-1 to extend him an offer.
Despite a vote heavily in his favor, Roberts decided to travel to Steamboat today, at his own expense, to further address issues including an audit of Victorville's finances that is 13 months overdue and ongoing litigation involving Roberts' current employer.
JoAnn Almond became the second of Victorville's five council members to raise concerns about Roberts when she said Friday that he withheld information from some council members. Roberts denied the claim. Victorville's other three council members have spoken only favorably about Roberts in interviews with the Steamboat Pilot & Today.
"I always worked well with him, and I think he's done a great job," Victorville Mayor Rudy Cabriales said Monday. "He was forthcoming and honest with us. : I just wish him the best of luck, and he'll do a good job for you guys."
Cabriales said the issues facing Victorville should not cause the Steamboat Springs City Council to second-guess Roberts.
"All of that is internal," Cabriales said. "None of that has anything to do with him."
Roberts said Monday that he will be joined in person by Victorville Councilman Mike Rothschild. Councilman Terry Caldwell, City Attorney Andre de Bortnowsky and Jeff Kinsell, Victorville's financial adviser, will participate by conference call.
"I think he'll give some kind of presentation and then take questions and comments," said interim City Manager Wendy DuBord, who said the discussion is scheduled for 30 minutes. "And these people will be there to help him answer."
Councilwoman Meg Bentley said she is impressed with Roberts for confronting concerns head on, and she said she thinks he will take the same proactive approach in addressing the problems he will encounter as Steamboat Springs' city manager.
"I'm tired of the negativity. I'm exactly in the same place I was last Wednesday," she said. "I think Jon Roberts is a breath of fresh air. He's going to raise the bar for everybody."
Councilman Steve Ivancie agreed.
"I think anybody who has been in public service as long as he has will certainly have his detractors," he said. "I am still confident that he is the right man for our job. We need to get someone in the position of leadership. Our citizens deserve that."