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Paonia moves quickly to find interim manager

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The Paonia Town Council acted quickly after receiving town manager Jane Barry's resignation.

In a special meeting last Thursday, trustees voted unanimously to instruct the Personnel Committee (trustees Dave Bear and Karen Budinger) to compile a list of candidates to hire as interim town manager.

"The only business on tonight's agenda is employment of an interim town manager," Mayor Charles Stewart said. "This meeting is to address this issue only. I do not intend to allow this meeting to digress from this issue."

Bear and Budinger are tasked with compiling the list and presenting it to the board as soon as possible.

"We need to have somebody operate this town come Aug. 23," Stewart said.

Stewart allowed comment from the public in the special meeting. In addition to staff and media, there were nine members of the public in attendance.

"Hopefully the Personnel Committee will have something for the board as early as next Tuesday's meeting," Stewart said. The council's regular meeting was Aug. 9.

The committee will have a place to start compiling the list as Stewart solicited names of qualified candidates from Sam Mamet, executive director of the Colorado Municipal League.

Stewart also spoke with former Paonia interim town manager Steve Rabe, who held that position before Barry took the job nearly two years ago. Rabe told Stewart he would not be able to take the position again but did provide two names for the Personnel Committee to investigate.

One Paonia citizen expressed interest in taking the interim job, although Stewart did not name who it was.

Barry will perform her duties to the town until Aug. 24. From Aug. 25 through Sept. 30 she will utilize accumulated leave time.

Issues of how much the interim town manager will be paid, what list of qualifications they must have and specific job descriptions will all be worked out by the Personnel Committee and then ultimately by the board, which will interview all candidates before anyone is hired.

Trustee Suzanne Watson asked if the budget has money available to hire an interim town manager, pointing out that interim jobs are usually more expensive than full time jobs.

"As a practical matter we will need to make sure the money is available," Stewart said. "At this point we are looking for an interim town manager. We have not even begun to address what that person would be paid. That's a mathematical question that we will have to address at a later date."

The board showed a common sense of urgency last Thursday.

"Part of the reason for the urgency is this town went without a town manager for seven years," trustee Dave Bradford said. "And they had an over half a million dollar embezzlement take place in that time. So in order to conduct good government many of us on this board believe it's imperative that we have a functioning town manager."

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