Three Summit County officials leave positions; new faces take a seat at the table
In the next two weeks, three Summit County officials will have left their positions.
Aug. 25 is Nicole Valentine’s last day as Summit County’s director of communications, and Sept. 1 is the last day for Summit County Manager Scott Vargo and Sarah Vaine, the county’s assistant manager.
Vargo and Vaine have been in their roles since 2016. Vargo announced he was leaving to become Golden’s new city manager in July.
“We have an incredible team,” County Commissioner Tamara Pogue said. “But you know, like any employer, if you’ve got a talented team, they are highly sought out.”
Valentine’s vacancy has already been filled by David Rossi, the former chief marketing officer and spokesperson for Peak Health Alliance.
Rossi worked with Pogue during her time as the CEO of Peak Health Alliance, and he’s already spent some time contributing his skills to the county.
He’s been working with the Summit Board of County Commissioners for the past few months, collaborating with Valentine to help commissioners reach their goal of being more transparent with the community, Rossi said.
“I think people don’t realize how easy these people are to talk to because they are fellow members of the community,” Rossi said.
Pogue said Rossi’s previous work will help create a smoother transition.
“We really wanted to make sure that we could provide some consistency to the community,” Pogue said. “It made sense to, sort of, elevate somebody who was already working with us internally.”
Rossi said he’s not currently set on staying in the role permanently, but there’s lots of work to be done in the meantime. He wants to expand public accessibility to communicate with the commissioners.
“I’m excited to really communicate their vision and their mission and their goals,” Rossi said, “And in my mind, the changes at the management level of the county, I think, are a great opportunity for them to really talk about the next chapter.”
Andy Atencio, the previous IT director that worked alongside Vaine in many of her departments, will be taking over as interim assistant county manager until the county hires a permanent replacement.
“Because he has been responsible for the basic infrastructure of Summit County government, he knows a lot about many of the departments that Sarah supervised,” Pogue said. “Again, he’ll provide a very smooth transition.”
Both Vargo and Vaine’s positions will be filled by a permanent replacement. Pogue said a national search firm was hired to find those replacements, though she hopes that there’s someone already within the county who may be able to step into the role.
Though she is sad to see the two Summit County veterans leave, Pogue does see a silver lining in the departures.
“It’s an opportunity to find folks who might bring a new perspective or a fresh face or some different ideas to the table, and that will only serve Summit County well,” she said.
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