CREEDE— The Creede Board of Trustees opened a special meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 23 to interview six potential candidates for the open city manager position with the intent to select a final three.
At the beginning of the meeting, Creede Mayor Jeffery Larson stated that during the board’s retreat it was suggested by a trustee that the board wait 24 hours before discussing the content of the interviews, in order to have time to consider each candidate before making a final decision. Board members opted to approve the agenda as presented, with the stipulation that another meeting to discuss applicants would be scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 25.
Larson began the interview process with a list of rules chosen by the board, stating that there would be no public comment during the interview, but that the public could submit written questions or comments after the meeting was adjourned.
“We are going to take your suggestions, questions or comments into account before moving to select the final bracket of three applicants, but during this interview, it is very important for the audience to be polite. Trustee Teresa Wall will be the only one speaking and asking questions so that we can keep it concise and follow the spirit of the law on how this should be done,” said Larson.
Board members explained the schedule for the interview process stating their goal is to break the six candidates down to three by the meeting on Oct. 25, then the board would like to have face-to-face interviews the following Friday, Nov. 2. “The board of trustees would like the public to know that we are trying to be as transparent as we can and still follow the spirit of the law while preserving the confidentiality of these applicants. We will let you know everything we can that is legal and reasonable,” stated Larson.
One member of the audience asked the board if the interviews of the final three candidates would be open to the public, to which the board responded that it would not be. The board asked Town Attorney Karen Lintott whether or not they could have it as a public meeting, to which she responded that she felt the process should be as transparent as possible.
“I actually suggest that once the board narrows it down to three applicants that you have a public forum where the public could submit questions in advance and be involved in the process. Through that process you would be able to see how these individuals fit into the community,” stated Lintott. The board decided to discuss the possibility of a public forum during the meeting on Thursday.
The first candidate interviewed was Dan Rivera, who was the past interim President of Miners and Merchants Bank until he became the director at the community center when the bank position was eliminated in 2010. Rivera has limited experience in governmental municipality positions but has an extensive background in finances, having worked for banks and credit unions for many years. “For me it is not about the money, it is about being able to come back to a place I love and care for.”
Next, board members interviewed Louis Fineberg who currently lives in Silverton, Colo. Fineberg heard about the position through the Colorado Municipal League (CML) and has been to Creede on several occasions. Fineberg stated that he has 15 years of planning director experience and has worked for several municipalities in that position. “Communication and openness are two of the most important characteristics of a city manager.”
The third applicant was Patrick Fleming who began the interview by stating that the position would be his dream job. Fleming has experience as an intern for the city manager in Glenwood Springs, Colo. and served as the lead communication officer. “I went to all city council meetings and was in charge of tracking their goals as well as their future agendas. A city manager really needs to have a firm view of what and how to improve the city services and make them the best they can.”
The fourth interview was with Angie Sprang who comes from Carbondale, Colo. Sprang has experience working with the Town of Carbondale for two years and started out in the accounting and human resource department. Sprang did state that though she has no connections to Creede, she loves the mountains and looks forward to the opportunity. “I bring a wide range of experience but mostly in human resources. I feel that a city manager should be able to communicate with people and make sure to get the job done.”
The next interview was with Adam Olsen out of Utah who comes to the potential position with experience as a planning director in Utah near Salt Lake City. “I work very closely with the city manager. Since 2005 I have had varying levels of municipal experience and I am slowly gaining more and more. I love it; it’s been great and exciting. When the position opened up I wanted to give it a go.”
The last interview was with Barbara Peterson from New York but lived in Paonia, Colo. for 13 years. Peterson heard about the position through Colorado Municipal League and has a connection with Creede through an auditing agency. Peterson has experience as a town clerk for more than 10 years and almost five as interim acting town manager. “I believe that communication is hands down one of the best skills that not only I bring but is important to the position.”
The board interviewed the six candidates with a series of pre-selected questions including, what they knew about the Creede area, where they heard about the position, their prior experience, how long it would take them to relocate and why they felt they were the right person for the job, as well as many others.
Each candidate will be reviewed by the board over the next two days. The board asks that questions and comments be submitted in a timely manner before the meeting on Thursday when the final three will be selected.