Steamboat Springs City Council in no hurry to hire next city manager
December 5, 2012
Council approves raise for Hinsvark
The Steamboat Springs City Council on Tuesday voted unanimously to approve a pay raise for Interim City Manager Deb Hinsvark to compensate her for the added work responsibilities she took on in October.
Until a permanent city manager is hired, Hinsvark, who was serving as deputy city manager when Jon Roberts resigned in October, will earn an additional $1,000 per month.
According to the approved contract, Hinsvark’s annual base salary was $133,407, and her interim salary is $145,407, which is about $8,000 less than Roberts’ salary was at the time of his resignation.
Steamboat Springs — The Steamboat Springs City Council is in no hurry to hire its next city manager.
After they were presented Tuesday night with a list of four search firms that want to help find a replacement for former City Manager Jon Roberts, council members agreed to delay the process until they had a chance to discuss expectations for the person who fills the role.
They also want more time to figure out how to grade the city’s next leader.
"I’m a little slow to engage on this right now," council member Walter Magill said, adding he thought Interim City Manager Deb Hinsvark was doing a good job leading the city.
Magill also indicated he didn’t want to spend $13,000 to $19,000 on a search firm at a time he said good candidates might be hard to find.
The council agreed to postpone further discussions about the search until next month.
Director of General Services Anne Small is coordinating the city’s search for a new manager. She said the city received 11 bids from search firms across the country wanting to help, and she recently trimmed the list to four finalists.
Small said the finalists have more experience recruiting in Colorado, and their asking prices range from $13,500 to $19,100.
Many council members alluded to the departure of Roberts and their difficulty evaluating him as reasons they should wait to dive into the search for his replacement.
Weeks before Roberts resigned amid some council members’ criticism about his job performance, his seven bosses agreed they needed to give him a clearer set of goals and job expectations.
In September, the council drafted those goals and expectations.
But even one of Roberts’ harshest critics said it was difficult to lay them out.
"For a city manager, the metrics are pretty tough," Magill told Roberts. "If I was managing real estate brokers, I could say, ‘Close five deals by the end of December.’ But I can’t do that.”
On Tuesday night, the council identified creating a better metric and evaluation system for the city manager as a top goal for 2013.
Council President Bart Kounovsky said he didn’t want to start the search until council has a chance to hammer out a better job description and list of expectations for the position.
"We should take some time and figure out some things internally," he said.
Council member Sonja Macys said the city is "running just as well if not better than it was before" and said the council should take some time to do "a little more networking" and have more discussions about who they want to hire.
Roberts was one of 118 applicants for the job when he was hired in 2009.
The city utilized the executive search firm Peckham & McKenney to conduct that search.
At a council meeting in October, city staff presented the firm as an option at a cost of $18,500 plus $7,500 in expenses.
To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com