Steamboat City Council member suggests performance reviews contributed to parks and rec director’s sudden resignation
July 30, 2013
Steamboat Springs — A Steamboat Springs City Council member said he thinks poor performance reviews ultimately led to the end of Chris Wilson’s 22-year tenure with the city this week.
Reacting to the news Monday that Wilson had resigned as the director of the city’s Parks, Open Space and Recreational Services Department, council President Pro Tem Scott Myller said he learned about "troubling" reviews of Wilson from City Manager Deb Hinsvark during a lunch.
"At a lunchtime meeting, Deb and I talked about Chris Wilson, and the indication she gave was Chris had troubling performance reviews," Myller said.
When asked about that conversation with Myller, Hinsvark said Tuesday that she couldn’t comment on a personnel matter.
She said Wilson was a hard worker and very well-liked by his staff and the city’s management team.
Wilson said Tuesday that he is happy to "stand on his record" and is hopeful he’ll find a new career after resigning from the city.
"My professional integrity speaks for itself," he said, adding he made budget year after year and his department saw success in the surveys it got back from people who participate in the city-run recreational programs.
Wilson oversaw one of the city’s largest departments.
For the department leader’s most recent performance evaluation, Myller and council member Sonja Macys said Hinsvark reached out to members of the council for feedback.
That surprised Macys, who said she couldn’t recall another time council members have been asked to give their input on a city employee’s performance other than the city manager.
"I thought that was kind of strange. That’s not our purview," Macys said. "He’s not really City Council’s employee."
Macys praised Wilson’s long tenure with the city, saying one of his most significant accomplishments was the advancement of the Yampa River Core Trail.
She added that at the helm of one of the city’s biggest departments, Wilson has "made a significant contribution to open space acquisition and trail development."
Macys’ nonprofit, Yampatika, regularly partnered with the city on projects.
Hinsvark said when she evaluates department leaders like Wilson, she seeks feedback from many parties.
"Anytime I’m evaluating a department head who works directly for me, I’m going to reach out to everyone I can to get feedback on their performance, including City Council members, commissions or committees," she said.
Wilson said Tuesday that he was not aware council members were able to offer their feedback on his job evaluation.
"That’s news to me," he said.
City attorney Tony Lettunich said Wilson has not received any severance pay following his resignation, but there’s a chance he could in the coming weeks.
Wilson started with the city in 1991 as a trails coordinator.
To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com