Summit County manager, Scott Vargo, resigns to become Golden’s new city manager |

Summit County manager, Scott Vargo, resigns to become Golden’s new city manager

Scott Vargo and community members meet Sept. 19, 2019, at the Summit Community Center in Frisco to discuss the minimum wage. Vargo recently took a position with the city of Golden as their new city manager.
Liz Copan /

Scott Vargo will soon leave Summit County and his role as Summit County manager to become Golden’s new city manager.

When Vargo came to the county in 1999, he was 29 years old and was about to start a position as the head of human resources for Summit County government. Through the years, he advanced to assistant county manager and then became Summit County manager in 2016. 

Since, he has worked closely with the county commissioners, the community and the towns to improve Summit County.

Ryan Hyland, town manager of Silverthorne, has known Vargo since he moved to the county in 2006.

“Over all those years, he’s been really great to work with. We’ve been lucky to have him in Summit County for a few decades. That sort of tenure with an organization is becoming more and more rare,” Hyland said. 

Vargo is a little nervous about the move.

“That is where most of my nerves or trepidation come from. I’ve been in Summit for 23 years, and so this is a big change,” he said. However, he did joke that the shorter Golden winters will be a nice change.

Summit County Commissioner Elisabeth Lawrence has been working closely with Vargo for almost 10 years. She said his presence will greatly be missed, and their hunt for a new county manager will have to be thorough.

“It is a huge, huge job,” Lawrence said.

A county manager’s role is very extensive. For the past six years, Vargo has overseen the day to day operations of over 36 departments.

“That’s why we’re going to do a robust search,” she said.  

The position for city manager is directly overseen by county commissioners, and Lawrence said Vargo has left big shoes to fill. 

“This is such an important role, not only to us at Summit County government but also to our community, so we have to be thoughtful about this. These things do take time,” Lawrence said, adding that they will be partnering with a recruitment firm to find their candidate.

They’ll be looking nationwide, but she added there will be an emphasis for those who have already managed in a western mountain town, one similar to Summit County. 

Lawrence also said there will be opportunities for the community involved but added that it’s still too early to say what that process will look like. 

Vargo has worked in Summit County of on construction projects, financial progression in the community and, Lawrence says, respect among many of the 500 employees in Summit County government. 

“That’s something I’ve always admired,” Lawrence said. “The folks that he worked with directly that reported to him, they have a deep respect for him, and I think that says a lot about who he is as a character and a boss.”

Vargo reciprocates the feeling.

“I’m super proud of all the people that I work with at the county. I wouldn’t be anywhere near as successful as I have been — or perceived myself to have been — if not for all of the folks that were working hard throughout county government,” Vargo said. 

Vargo helped to move forward construction on Wintergreen workforce housing, the South Branch Library in Breckenridge, the Medical Office Building near the hospital and many more.

Hyland said the Silverthorne child care center, which was approved in June, is a great way for Vargo to leave the county. He said Vargo was someone that was easy to work with, adding that he was awesome whenever it came to partnership between Silverthorne and the county. 

And while Hyland said Vargo will be missed, he said Vargo is leaving behind a good example of communication, teamwork and passion in the county manager position.

“That history of collaboration among all the entities is … a great culture. So whoever that new person is, that culture will remain, and I look forward to meeting that person whenever they arrive,” Hyland said. 

While Vargo’s position will be different than his role in Summit County, he said the community in Golden gave him a lot of hope for the move.

“I’m really excited by what I saw and the folks that I met within Golden and the community, as well as the council and the staff,” he said. “Everybody was super engaged, very friendly, very welcoming.”

Lawrence said they were proud of Vargo and are grateful for all he contributed to the county. 

“I think Golden has made a really smart decision,” Hyland said.

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