Hiring consultant to create consensus on responsibilities and expectations
[ By Kendra Walker ]
Mt. CB is hiring a consultant that will help the town council and town manager reexamine and clarify expectations of all parties, and identify and set goals and objectives moving forward.
When asked for more information regarding what brought this about, mayor Janet Farmer told the News, “Over the past few months, I realized that there was confusion over what issues need to be addressed by town council and which should simply be in the hands of the town manager. I called Kevin Bommer, the executive director of the Colorado Municipal League (CML) for clarification. He stated that it was very common for there to be this kind of confusion when a new town manager is hired, particularly someone from outside the community. He recommended the hiring of a consultant to help all of us through this adjustment time. This isn’t about any particular issue. It’s just an educational piece for the council and manager.”
“I am aligned with the mayor on hiring a consultant to advise town council and on proper protocol and responsibilities between all parties,” town manager Isa Reeb told the News. “It’s very typical to have council training, as well as town manager training—we are simply combining those trainings to keep everyone aligned so we can best serve our community.”
During the January 4 town council meeting, Farmer noted, “We’d had Joe [Fitzpatrick, former Mt. CB town manager of 16 years] on board for so long that it was sort of like cruise control…This will help everybody understand who’s basket does what fall in.”
The council agreed to hire consultant June Ramos of J Ramos Associates for $6,000, which town finance director Karl Trujillo said could be allocated in the budget. Ramos will individually interview each council member and town manager Isa Reeb to identify desired outcomes, issues and desired expectations and goals. The consultant will then facilitate several conference sessions to create consensus on the roles, responsibilities and expectations of everyone. The council will then reconvene at the six-month mark for a formal town manager mid-term review, and then an annual review six months later.
Council member Michael Bacani asked if Ramos had worked with similar size communities to Mt. Crested Butte in the past. “In a town like this where everybody knows everybody and everything…if Roman [Kolodziej] sneezes, I say God bless you. Being a smaller tight-knit community, it is a lot more about relationships here than if you’re dealing with a lot of big city politics and red tape. I’d hope for this person to have some small community experience,” said Bacani.
Farmer said she would send Bacani more information about Ramos’ experience, and reiterated her confidence with the CML executive director’s recommendation.
“I still think we should have an executive session with Isa, sooner than later,” said Nicholas Kempin. “I am for this but I still think we need to proceed with some more direct communication with Isa…continuing to have a discussion on communication, just from a very basic human resources standpoint. We haven’t really done the basic things. I think we still need to do that while we review this other process. We already did one executive session and I think we should do another one and I think it should be at the next meeting.”
“I think anything that comes out of executive session is going to help inform this process better with the consultant,” agreed council member Steve Morris.
“I agree with Steve and Nicholas,” said council member Lauren Koelliker. “I also think it’s important we have an outside person come in to help us with some of these issues.”
Town attorney Kathy Fogo noted that with a personnel matter, Reeb has the opportunity to choose to hold the discussion in open session rather than executive session.
The council asked Reeb if she had any thoughts, and she responded, “I hadn’t thought through the process that’s been provided so I don’t have any comments at this point, but I agree that a facilitator will help.”