City manager could be subject of Tuesday executive session | SteamboatToday.com

City manager could be subject of Tuesday executive session

Steamboat Springs City Manager Deb Hinsvark, pictured at left with council member Sonja Macys at a council meeting last year.

— Police department reforms, Iron Horse Inn real estate negotiations and a possible closed door discussion about City Manager Deb Hinsvark are among the several big items on the Steamboat Springs City Council’s agenda Tuesday night.

Council members Scott Ford and Sonja Macys, who have twice this year made unsuccessful efforts to seek a new city manager, asked for the closed door session about Hinsvark that could take place tonight.

They requested the meeting two weeks ago following an executive session with Hinsvark that several council members have described as “frustrating.”

Macys, who recently said she has “had low confidence in the city manager for some time,” wouldn’t comment Monday when asked why she had requested the upcoming closed door meeting.

“It’s too sensitive a topic,” Macys said. “It’s too dangerous to even broach.”

Councilman Scott Myller said he believes the proposed meeting stems from some of the council members believing the city manager had made some mistakes in previous weeks.

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Recent criticisms of Hinsvark by some council members include her handling of proposed contract changes with Triple Crown and the release of information from the recent police misconduct investigation.

Myller expressed support for Hinsvark on Monday.

He speculated that the council would decide whether to “reprimand” the city manager.

“I think we’re all waiting to see what happens,” Myller said. “I don’t want to deal with hiring a new city manager. We all make mistakes here and there. It seems we’ve had reasonable answers to her” mistakes.

Council members were reportedly disappointed and “infuriated” last month when the vague summary of the recent police investigation was released by Hinsvark to the media and the public before the council had a chance to review it.

Myller said Hinsvark didn’t expect the information to be released so quickly online before she had the chance to meet with the council later in the evening.

Myller said he now views the incident as “benign.”

Ford, Macys and some community members also were publicly critical of how Hinsvark had handled some proposed contract changes that would have allowed Triple Crown to hold youth softball and baseball games at Emerald Park for the first time.

Hinsvark initially asked the council to consider approving the controversial proposal at the end of a meeting instead of holding a second public hearing to discuss it.

She subsequently apologized to some Pamela Lane residents who would have been impacted by the additional traffic from the games.

A few of the residents showed up to a city council meeting last month thinking there would be a public hearing.

A hearing was then scheduled, and the council rejected the Triple Crown proposal at Emerald.

Ford said Hinsvark’s actions created unnecessary controversy.

Hinsvark was promoted to city manager in March 2013 after serving as deputy city manager and finance director.

She received satisfactory review scores from the council during her regular performance evaluation in January and again during a six-month evaluation in May.

The council also discussed HInsvark’s performance during an executive session in April.

So far, Ford and Macys have been alone on the council in not supporting the city’s top employee.

Hinsvark said Monday she wasn’t aware of the specific reasoning for the possible executive session about her on Tuesday.

Executive sessions can be blocked by the employee who is the subject of them if they request that the talks happen in public.

Council President Bart Kounovsky declined to comment on the meeting.

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

In other action

• The council will meet behind closed doors to discuss the potential sale of the Iron Horse Inn property. Councilman Scott Myller said the city received eight proposals for the property ranging from the development of office space to a renovation of the units to continue providing affordable workforce housing. City Manager Deb Hinsvark said the council has requested more information on two proposals, which would both involve a sale of the property. Any sale would require two ordinances and a public hearing.

• Interim Police Chief Jerry DeLong will brief the council on proposed changes to the police department. The changes were recommended by an investigator who looked into serious accusations against Police Chief Joel Rae and Deputy Chief Bob DelValle.