City of Steamboat Springs working to fill 2 management positions

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— The city of Steamboat Springs is getting closer to filling two management positions after nationwide searches produced more than 200 applications for the jobs.

Anne Small, the city's director of general services, said Wednesday that the city received about 140 applications for its Parks, Open Space and Recreational Services Department director position and about 65 applications for the airport manager position.

The Parks and Recreation director will replace Chris Wilson, who resigned in July after working for the city for 22 years.

Longtime Steamboat Springs Airport Manager Mel Baker left the city Sept. 12 to move to Denver.

Small said the applicant pool for the Parks and Recreation job recently was narrowed to 25 applicants, and interviews should start soon.

“It's really quite interesting to take a look at the candidates,” Small said. “Some come from larger cities where they have larger recreation centers. They're in charge of facilities like aquatic centers and field houses, and they can bring that type of experience and apply it here.”

The Parks and Recreation job in Steamboat is unique in that the department oversees several amenities including the Brent Romick Rodeo Arena, Howelsen Hill, the Howelsen Ice Arena and the Tennis Center at Steamboat Springs.

The city’s parks division oversees 28 parks totaling more than 1,000 acres.

According to the city's call for applicants, the park system includes six mineral springs, two skateparks, 10 playgrounds, three volleyball courts and 22 athletic fields.

The open space division oversees more than 2,500 acres of undeveloped land.

The city is offering the job with an annual salary range of $82,281 to $113,581, depending on qualifications.

Since August, the Parks and Recreation Department has been led by interim director John Overstreet.

Overstreet previously has served as the city of Denver's deputy parks director as well as a parks director in Florida and Georgia.

More recently, he has worked for a parks design and consulting firm.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10

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Comments

Scott Ford 5 months, 4 weeks ago

There is a lot of discussion about “Shopping Local”. Without question it has some economic value.

However, greater economic value is created when our charitable giving occurs locally and as employers we hire local talent whenever possible. Often over the long-run attitude and aptitude will trump past experience in getting the job at hand done.

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rhys jones 5 months, 4 weeks ago

Looking at those salaries, no wonder they're always crying for more money. It's an elite club, and they're stealing us blind.

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Stuart Orzach 5 months, 4 weeks ago

It is way past time that the City's hiring practices saw the light of day. After all, it is taxpayers' money that is being spent on a lengthy process to scour the nation for applicants and winnow hundreds down to one. Then, we will spend more precious time and money to orient and train someone who has never set foot in this town. After they're hired they will profess their love for this "wonderful community", but a few years down the road, they will depart for the next step in their career ladder.

Maybe there is a good reason why we do it the way we do, but, since few citizens know what it is, we have a serious problem with lack of transparency and accountability.

Not long ago, I publicly expressed my view, in these blogs, that we live in a colony, not a community. Soon-to-be-City-Councilman Scott Ford publicly expressed his agreement with my view.

Mr. Ford, will you commit now to shining daylight on this long standing issue once you take your seat on Council?

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Scott Ford 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Hi Stuart – Employee turnover is expensive and it is particularly expensive in senior management positions. An estimate of that expense needs to be disclosed to City Council and the taxpayers at the beginning of the recruiting process. After the hiring process is completed it should be relatively easy to give an accounting of the expense. This is not an unreasonable request.

The City Manager has the responsibility to find the most qualified candidate. As a part of the recruiting process the City Manager should disclose to City Council in some form of rank order what the core competencies they are seeking. This is particularly important if the City Manager feels a change in direction and/or focus in a particular department within the city is necessary. That is the type of discussion that should happen and should be well understood by City Council. . This is not an unreasonable request. It is not the City Council’s role to second guess or micro manage the City Manager as they go about the recruiting and hiring process. However, they need to know why one candidate was selected over the pool of others.

The reason I think hiring locally is so important – is that with the exception of some positions that require a high level of technical silks – attitude, aptitude and awareness are often the most important characteristics.

I love living here but that is not true of everyone. I have seen major employers in town hire folks that had great job experience and an impressive resume - yet when they settled into the job - they and/or their spouse/family became increasingly dissatisfied with the area. Winters are long and the nearest “official” shopping mall is 3 to 4 hours away. It is not easy to get here, dodging elk at night on Rabbit Ears Pass in a February snowstorm – is something one does not encounter when living in the Nashville metro area. Simply put, the challenges of living here with a local candidate are already well known to them and their family. This minimizes the risk of an employment disruption because of the DNA of this place.

Lastly hiring locally often creates a progression of opportunities for other to advance either within the city ranks or within the community as a whole. Typically it is more cost effective to hire locally – if the local talent exist.

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Scott Wedel 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Scott Ford,

Thanks for the clarification. Your first post "charitable giving" implied that hiring someone for a government job is also an charitable act.

II think a major of hiring outsiders is that SB with lots of government revenues is an attractive rung in an ambitious person's career ladder. So it is almost to be expected that the outsider applying for the SB government job is expecting to get a few years experience to add to the resume before moving on to the next job. That sort of turnover doesn't just result in expensive training costs, but leads to the outsider looking to do a high profile project to further build the resume.

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Stuart Orzach 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Scott Ford- Thank you for your thoughtful response. I can tell you from my own experience, that, beyond checking that someone has the prerequisites (or core competencies, as you called it) for the job, the rest of the hiring decision is made with the gut, and it's easier to have a gut feeling about someone you have already worked with. Everyone is a hero in their resume, and even in the interview. We live in an "age of fake" where polishing one's image has been raised to a high art form and it's hard to find authenticity amidst all the glitter and hype.

Scott Wedel also raises an important point. An outsider on a career path is often seeking to carry out a signature project or achieve a particular goal that looks good on his/her resume but may not be best for the taxpayers.

I feel that Rob Douglas missed the mark last week when he suggested that we lower paid time off. We may give more than average but it is hardly excessive. It may be one of the main ingredients of the compensation package that keeps our turnover low.

I have a particular concern with turnover in the Police Dept. because I feel that intimate knowledge of the City and its residents is extremely important for someone in that privileged position. If lack of opportunity is a function of the hierarchical structure of the Department, then perhaps we need to create a new and different, flatter structure.

Overall we need to stop obsessing about what other towns are doing. We also need to back off on our reliance on expensive consultants who put on a big dog and pony show and then advise us to do what everyone else is doing. Otherwise, we'll forever be spending lots of time and money chasing the mean.

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Aryeh Copa 5 months, 3 weeks ago

I couldn't agree more that the city should hire from within. Steamboat Springs is a unique resort town with a western heritage and a demographic that is nothing like the average American city. It takes someone that lives here because they love Steamboat Springs to understand this unique balance. Craig Robinson has lived here for more then 20 years and has been working for the Parks and Recreation Department for most of them. Unless he does not want the job for some reason, I can think of no one more qualified then Craig to fill the position of Parks and Recreation Director. Having worked with the Parks & Recreation department for many years, I have had many disagreements with Craig but he always listens, is fair and has shown great fiscal responsibility. Craig could seamlessly fill the position with no training and, if he applied, the city should consider itself fortunate to have such a qualified, local candidate. This is my official endorsement of Craig Robinson for the position of Parks and Recreation Director.

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walt jones 5 months, 3 weeks ago

The last 2 people who should be hiring for these positions are Anne Small and our fearless leader Deb Hinsvark. I have said this from the day Jon Roberts resigned.

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John Fielding 5 months, 3 weeks ago

I also think Craig would be a worthy successor to Chris. But he may not want the job because it would expose him to the fate that befell the former director.

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