Four city manager finalists were in Delta for a tour and interviews this week. The candidates -- Don Gaeddert, Dan Hamsmith, George Korthauer and David Torgler -- also met with community members at a well-attended reception Monday night.
At the conclusion of the interviews Tuesday afternoon, the Delta City Council met in a brief executive session with its recruiting firm, The Mercer Group of Carbondale. Gary Suiter, senior vice president, was directed to begin negotiations with one of the finalists, but council declined to name that individual until negotiations have been wrapped up. Suiter said the details probably won't be finalized until next week.
During the community reception, candidates introduced themselves and talked about their interest in Delta.
Don Gaeddert was city manager in Larned, Kan., for 18 years. He and his wife Marie took a break and went to China on a mission trip for three years. They returned to the U.S. about a year ago. Gaeddert said he is still very interested in city management, which he described as challenging.
Dan Hamsmith is the economic development director for the town of Hudson. He's worked in the television and radio industry, and believes he has a strong understanding of what it takes to run a city. "As a city manager, this would be a great place to start," he said.
Korthauer is currently employed as the chief executive officer of a not-for-profit corporation in Michigan, but served as city manager in Petoskey, Mich., for 25 years. During the tour of the city, he said he most enjoyed talking with staff. "What impressed me the most is the way city management is organized under the consolidation." Staff members are wearing "a lot of hats," which is unusual, he said.
David Torgler has been the city manager in Hayden for five years, but has worked in public administration for over 30 years. Hayden closely resembles Delta in that it has strong roots in mining, agriculture and ranching, Torgler said. He has working knowledge of infrastructure and downtown redevelopment, and believes it's important to create a friendly environment for business.
The election results are in at the local, state and national level, and as expected, Democrats are doing well in state and national races. Colorado has elected Jared Polis as governor; nationally the Republicans appear to retain control of the Senate while Democrats now control the House of Representative.
With a ballot full of local and state measures, voter turnout in Delta County topped 71%, with 15,889 ballots cast. Statewide, voter turnout was just over 52%.
Of the three Delta County residents seeking state offices, Matt Soper won over Thea Chase in State Representative Dist. 54; Mike Mason lost to Julie McCluskie in State Representative Dist. 61; and Olen Lund lost to Kerry Donovan in State Senate Dist. 5.
Locally, in the City of Delta voters rejected a .5% sales tax increase to fund recreation, as well as recreational marijuana sales. The sale of medical marijuana and cultivation/manufacturing facilities was approved by a slim margin. Delta voters also gave the city the green light to move forward with selling or trading the Cottonwood and Riverbend Park, and to sell the old Municipal Light and Power Building.