Steamboat Springs New Hayden Town Manager David Torgler said the community has challenges, but its opportunities are just one reason he was attracted to the position.
Like most cities and towns across the country, Hayden’s biggest challenge is finances, he said Wednesday. Torgler said he would like to continue economic development that took place during the past several years, but he acknowledged that it’s a different economic time.
Still, Torgler was enthusiastic about Hayden’s future. He mentioned residential areas with existing infrastructure, Yampa Valley Regional Airport and its future improvements, and the potential of the town’s historic downtown district.
“These are all opportunities for us to continue to work on to promote and continue building Hayden as the place where people want to live, work and play,” he said.
Torgler formally accepted the position Tuesday, Interim Town Manager Lance Stewart said Wednesday. Torgler is scheduled to start Jan. 3, and Stewart said he would stay on until that time. Torgler will make $75,000 annually plus benefits.
Former Town Manager Russ Martin left in July after more than six years with Hayden to be town manager in Camp Verde, Ariz.
Torgler previously was the city administrator for Leavenworth, Wash., a post he held for less than one year. Before that, Torgler was the town manager for Winter Park for about 13 months. He has a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Northern Illinois in DeKalb, Ill.
Stewart said Torgler’s more than 25 years in public administration set him apart from the four other finalists — the town had 39 applicants for the position. But Stewart said he and the Town Council did consider Torgler’s short tenure at his previous two positions.
“However, interviewing him and understanding what the situation was and doing a fairly in-depth reference analysis in both communities, which included several people that weren’t on his reference list, as well, we felt comfortable with the situations that occurred and feel he should be very successful here in Hayden,” Stewart said.
In Winter Park, Torgler said a lack of communication led to him and the Town Council heading in different directions, and both sides mutually agreed that he would resign. In Leavenworth, Torgler said he was fired but never told why.
Torgler mentioned two previous jobs, eight years as city administrator for Burlington, Wis., and seven years as the assistant village manager for the Village of Addison, Ill., as examples of his longevity with positions. Torgler said he and his wife, Carmen, aren’t thinking about leaving Hayden soon after they arrive.
Hayden Mayor Lorraine Johnson said she was satisfied with Torgler’s short tenure at his previous two positions after he explained the circumstances. She said in addition to his qualifications, his interview exceeded her expectations.
“It’s like he had done his homework and had some direction that he would like to see the town of Hayden go into,” said Johnson, who will step down as mayor to become a member of the Town Council by the time Torgler starts.
Soon after he starts, Torgler said, he plans to meet with Hayden staff and Town Council members and members of the community to learn what’s most important to them. He said he would work with the Town Council during a retreat early in his tenure to strategically plan Hayden’s immediate future.
The Torglers have two adult daughters and three grandchildren. Torgler said he and Carmen love the outdoors. In addition to Hayden’s professional opportunities, Torgler said they’re looking forward to being able to hunt, camp, fish and bike, among other outdoor activities they’ll discover in and around town.
“Carmen and I are excited about coming to Hayden,” he said. “We are very much looking forward to becoming part of the community and being able to work with the people in Hayden to make it even better, to accomplish the vision of what the people of Hayden want that community to become.”