City may hire public information officer instead of deputy city manager | SteamboatToday.com

City may hire public information officer instead of deputy city manager

— The city of Steamboat Springs’ search for a new deputy city manager is poised to take a new direction.

City Manager Deb Hinsvark said Tuesday she has decided not to offer the job to the lone finalist who was brought to Steamboat last week from Florida to meet community members.

Hinsvark is now considering starting a new search for a public information officer with experience in community outreach instead of a deputy city manager.

“The issue is we need someone whose job is only one thing, and that is doing our community outreach,” Hinsvark said. “A deputy is going to be just another manager right now versus someone who is going to do public outreach. Bottom line, we just have a lot of good managers here at the city, but public outreach and community outreach is not our first focus, and it needs to be.”

City staff recently was criticized by community members for not engaging with residents on Pamela Lane prior to considering a contract change that would have allowed Triple Crown, and more traffic, into Emerald Park for the first time.

Some business owners along Trafalgar Drive also were critical of the city’s level of outreach on the plan to create a new access into the park that would run in front of their businesses instead of the current route through Pamela Lane.

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Hinsvark said having a PIO at the city could have helped in these and other situations, including an ongoing issue with trash overflowing downtown on busy weekends.

“We get so busy running the city sometimes, we are not good communicators,” Hinsvark said.

Hinsvark in April launched a search for a deputy city manager, a position the city has gone without for nearly three years.

A search committee of four community members selected a city manager from Florida as the finalist for the position.

The finalist traveled to Steamboat last week for an in-person interview and to meet a group of community members at Rex’s American Grill and Bar.

Hinsvark praised the finalist’s management skills, but ultimately felt she didn’t have enough experience with community outreach.

“I think she’s great at what she does. I just thought we’d have more management and still not have that community connection piece that we need” if we hired her, Hinsvark said.

The search committee had also selected another finalist whom Hinsvark said had more community outreach experience.

Hinsvark said this finalist withdrew his application after his city manager promoted him to deputy city manager.

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