Suiter still in contract negotiations with City Council | SteamboatToday.com

Suiter still in contract negotiations with City Council

Interim City Manager Gary Suiter speaks during his interview Friday with the Steamboat Springs City Council. A community panel that interviewed Suiter and three other finalists recommended Suiter for the job.

— Steamboat Springs City Council was not ready to offer its top city manager job candidate a contract to sign Tuesday following a lengthy closed-door session held to negotiate an employment agreement.

Council, last week, offered the job to Interim City Manager Gary Suiter.

Council members Heather Sloop and Jason Lacy met last week with the candidate in private to discuss contract terms ahead of the executive session.

Council President Walter Magill said Wednesday council is still in negotiations with Suiter.

He added council is keeping open the possibility of calling a special session to try to complete negotiations in the coming days.

“We’re still going back and forth,” Magill said. “Things are going OK.”

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Suiter said Thursday he met with council’s negotiating team Wednesday, and negotiations were in an offer, counter-offer phase.

He is hopeful a meeting on Friday will finalize an employment contract that council can soon vote on.

Items still being negotiated include Suiter’s salary and benefits package, Magill said.

“These negotiations take some time,” Magill said.

Magill initially told the audience at Citizens Hall on Tuesday he expected the executive session to last 20 or 30 minutes, but council members did not emerge from the session until more than an hour later, at 11:02 p.m.

Asked about the longer-than-expected session, Magill said negotiations of this nature take time.

“There are lots of different ideas about hiring a chief executive,” Magill said.

Councilwoman Kathi Meyer would not comment on the negotiations with Suiter, other than to say they were still ongoing following the executive session.

City Attorney Dan Foote gave the same response when asked Wednesday about where things stood between council and Suiter.

Council took no action following the closed-door session.

During his job interview earlier this month, Suiter told council securing housing was his only concern about the job.

He said based on his preliminary research, if he were to sell his house in Carbondale and purchase a comparable single-family home here in Steamboat, it would add an estimated $250,000 to his mortgage.

He added that was not something he wanted to do.

Suiter told council the move here would likely require him and his wife to switch to a condominium or townhome lifestyle.

“It’s something I’d have to talk about with my spouse,” Suiter said. “The real estate values here just don’t translate.”

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