Steamboat Springs City Council sets goals for city manager

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Steamboat Springs City Manager Jon Roberts

— Jon Roberts has four months to prove himself to the Steamboat Springs City Council members who questioned his leadership at a contentious performance review last month.

On Tuesday night, council members unanimously endorsed a list of goals they would like to see the city manager accomplish before a council meeting in January, where Roberts' performance again will be reviewed.

Roberts said he was glad to receive unanimous direction from his seven bosses.

“I consider their requests to be very reasonable,” he said.

The council's seven goals for Roberts focus on economic development and improving his communication with the council and the community.

Council members expect him to maintain a presence at City Hall five days a week while still working his 36 hour schedule.

He also will generate a semiweekly report for council members and look to improve the efficiency of the city's government through possible restructuring.

“Economic development and finding ways to restructure government to make it more efficient are areas I'm looking forward to working on,” Roberts said.

Other council goals for the city manager include having him maintain more of a visible presence at community events as well as meeting with local businesses and groups of city employees each week.

During their short discussion, council members did tweak some of initial the goals established between Roberts and City Council President Bart Kounovsky.

Council decided against receiving a weekly report from Roberts after council member Cari Hermacinski said it would be micromanagement, and Roberts' review timeline was shortened from six months to four months at the request of Walter Magill.

Magill, who said he wanted the city manager fired last month, acknowledged that grading Roberts at the end of four months will be difficult.

“For a city manager, the metrics are pretty tough,” Magill said. “If I was managing real estate brokers, I could say, 'Close five deals by the end of December.' But I can't do that. You want this job. You stated you wanted this job, and I want to see you excel at this job. So reapply or whatever else you want to do.”

Roberts started with the city in February 2009, and council members who opposed his firing praised him for his handling of the city's budget.

Last month, Roberts defended his management style and his connection to the community after at least three council members expressed serious doubts about his leadership, the way he communicates with council and city employees and his connection to the community.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com

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