After calling and holding two special meetings over the course of three days, the Paonia Board of Trustees approved the plan to hire an interim town manager and moved quickly to fill the void created by town manager Jane Berry's abrupt resignation.
Berry tendered her resignation in late July. Her last day performing duties for the town is Aug. 24. After that she will use accumulated leave time and her official last day on the books will be Sept. 25.
In both special meetings, held on Aug. 13 and 15, members of the board voiced their desire to have the interim town manager in place as close to Aug. 25 as possible so the transition in leadership will not impact the town's day to day operations.
The first special meeting, held last Saturday, was conducted entirely under executive session, meaning no public or media were allowed to attend. The board interviewed three candidates over the course of that seven-hour meeting.
With consultation from Sam Mamet, executive director of the Colorado Municipal League, and from former Paonia interim town manager Steve Rabe, the personnel committee of the board came up with the list of three candidates who were interviewed by the board.
"It was an excellent list, an excellent group of candidates," trustee David Bradford said. "I'm very confident that we'll be able to come up with a highly qualified, very effective interim town manager."
The second special meeting last Monday was held to solidify the hiring process and to instruct the personnel c ommittee and town attorney David Marek to begin contract negotiations with candidates for the job.
The board voted unanimously to negotiate a contract with and offer the interim job to the following people in this order: first, to Dan Dean of Milliken, second, to Jon Stavney of Eagle, and last to Don Baird of Granby.
The order was determined by non-secret ballots voted upon by the trustees.
According to the resumes of the candidates, Dean is currently the town manager of Mead.
Stavney was town manager of Eagle from 2013 to 2015 and was an Eagle County Commissioner from 2009 to 2013.
Baird has been town manager of Granby since 2008 and was formerly town manager for Bethel, Alaska, and Alliance, Nebraska.
There were five voting members of the board present as trustee Chelsea Bookout was absent from both special meetings.
Items such as pay, duration of the position, and a list of job requirements will all be worked out through the personnel committee and ultimately by the board, which will vote to offer the job to a candidate possibly as soon as the next regular scheduled meeting on August 23.
Mayor Charles Stewart also indicated that the Aug. 23 meeting will feature further discussion about the possibility of hiring Jane Berry as a consultant to the board as the transition process continues.