Public turnout low for Dillon town manager reception
DILLON – Few citizens turned out for Dillon’s town manager candidates reception Thursday.
Town officials hosted the reception to give locals an opportunity to meet and talk with the candidates. But those present at the small reception primarily were council members, town staff and the candidates themselves.
Dillon’s town manager position has been vacant since the prior town manager, Julie Boyd, resigned in May to accept a job on the Front Range.
The town received resumes for almost 60 applicants and narrowed its interest to the seven, who were invited to Dillon Thursday and Friday for a town tour, the public reception and interviews.
The seven candidates include: Jack Benson, Summit County Public Works director; David Erickson, town administrator for Silverton; Thomas Hale, town manager of Granby; Paul McKenna, town administrator for Georgetown; Kay Miller, former executive director for the Stapleton Foundation; Steve Pauken, former town administrator for Berthoud; and Don Van Wormer, town manager for Kremmling.
Miller was unable to attend the reception due to prior obligations, Dillon town treasurer Carri McDonnell said, but Miller planned to be present for the interview process.
Pauken, who worked as Berthoud’s town administrator for almost three years, said he’s been in the business for 18 years – 16 of which were in Ohio. He said he has been looking around the state for another position, and would like to find a town reasonably close to Denver.
“Probably more importantly is the quality of the community,” Pauken said. “I think this town has a lot going for it.
“This is one of the higher-quality communities in the state,” Pauken said.
McKenna said he is amazed at the town’s financial and infrastructure achievements. He said he has been focused on infrastructure during his two-plus years with Georgetown, but said Georgetown has a much more limited budget than does Dillon.
Hale, who has been with Granby for 2 1/2 years, manages a town of approximately 1,500 residents. He said Granby is the commercial and residential center for the surrounding resort communities, including Grand Lake and SolVista (formerly Silver Creek) Ski Area.
“I think (Dillon) is different in that it seems to be reaching buildout,” Hale said. As a result, it’s important to ensure the town continues its financial stability, he added.
Dillon resident Billy Perkins met all six candidates present Thursday. (Miller could not attend the reception due to a previous commitment, nor was a photo of her available.)
“I thought all the candidates were pretty good,” Perkins said. “Some of them were stronger than others. I think the closer we stay to home (physically) the better.”
Treasurer McDonnell has worked for the town nine years now; for seven of those years, Boyd was town manager.
“There’s a little anxiety in getting a new boss,” McDonnell said. “But it can be exciting, too. I’m not opposed to change.”
McDonnell said she hopes Boyd’s successor will work well with council and staff, and have a sense of humor.
“I’m looking for a manager that will lead Dillon into the next decade,” said Councilmember Ben Raitano. “(One) who works well with the mayor and staff and is good at communicating.
“And one that gets along well with the citizens,” Raitano added. “That’s always important.”
Mayor Barbara Davis, council members and Dillon department heads interviewed the candidates Friday. Candidates also were interviewed by an assessment board, consisting of town managers from several mountain towns.
Davis said the assessment board would offer town officials a different perspective, as they could ask candidates more pointed questions regarding the position and its requirements.
Town officials hoped to have a clear forerunner by the end of the interview process Friday.
“Council hopes to make an offer to someone next week with the hope of having somebody begin by the beginning of September,” she said.
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