Frisco names Jeff Durbin interim town manager
Durbin is the former town manager of Fraser in nearby Grand County
Frisco Town Council officially named Jeff Durbin the interim town manager during a regular meeting Tuesday afternoon.
Durbin is the former town manager of Fraser, but he stepped down at the end of last year after 20 years with the town to pursue other options. Now, he’ll step into the role recently vacated by Nancy Kerry, who announced her resignation as town manager earlier this month with plans to move to Reno, Nevada, to spend more time with her family.
Her departure leaves large shoes to fill. During the meeting Tuesday, business owners from throughout the town tuned in to thank Kerry for the work she’s done over the past year to keep the community afloat, and Town Council members took turns lauding her efforts since her arrival.
“Today, I’m proud to say that a decision we made will forever be a chapter in the history books of Frisco,” Mayor Hunter Mortensen said. “It was when council brought you, Nancy Kerry, to this little mountain town to be our manager. … I don’t know how to truly say ’thank you’ for all that you’ve done. Know that when you roll west out of town and onto your next great adventure, that behind you, you will leave a legacy as inspiring as Peak 1 itself.”
The town manager position has seen a fair amount of turnover in the past few years following the retirement in January 2017 of Bill Efting, who served for five years in the role. Efting was replaced by former Aspen Assistant City Manager Randy Ready, who resigned less than two years later in October 2018. Kerry, who served as the city manager for South Lake Tahoe before coming to Frisco, officially took over in January 2019.
The search for Kerry’s replacement, at least in an interim capacity, was short lived. Durbin applied for the Frisco town manager position in 2016, ultimately losing out to Ready. But he said spending a few extra years in Fraser has helped him prepare for the bigger role.
“I was thrilled to get the phone call about whether or not I’d be interested, and I’m really excited by the opportunity,” Durbin said. “When I talked to Frisco a few years back, it was something I was extremely interested in, and all the same reasons I was interested in it before are the reasons I’m interested today. It’s a great community; it’s a great organization. There are a lot of new challenges for me, and I actually feel like a few years down the road, I’m probably better prepared for this position than I was four years ago.”
Durbin said that while some of what he’ll be taking on in Frisco will be new, including the marina and Frisco Adventure Park, his experience in the area provides a good working knowledge of the greater problems facing mountain communities, including housing, transportation and economic development. And though Frisco is a bigger community than Fraser, Durbin said Frisco’s staff offers amazing opportunities.
“I think I bring a lot to the table in terms of knowing the players over there in terms of CDOT, the state, the counties, the I-70 Coalition,” Durbin said. “… The size and scope may be different, but the issues are very similar when you look across all sorts of municipalities. And I think an opportunity for me is having a deeper pool of staff. That’s something I’m looking forward to.”
Durbin grew up in the Detroit area and earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Colorado Boulder. After dabbling in architecture, he said he realized that it wasn’t his true passion, and he was instead drawn more into “communities and how people in the built environment interact.”
Durbin said he later earned a master’s degree in urban and regional planning at Michigan State University and worked at the Michigan State Historic Preservation Office for three years before making his way back to Colorado. He began his stint in Fraser as a community development director in 2000 and has worked as the town manager since 2004.
Durbin announced his resignation from the Fraser job in November, and he officially stepped down Dec. 31. He said he felt proud of the work he did in Fraser and said he was leaving the town in a strong financial position despite a recession and pandemic.
“It’s a good time for a change in my career as well as a good time for change with the organization,” Durbin said about his departure from Fraser. “I’d been the manager there for a long time.”
Durbin will serve as Frisco’s interim town manager under a four-month contract or until the town finds a permanent manager. Durbin expressed interest in taking over the position permanently, as well. He’ll start May 1, according to his employment agreement.
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