La Plata County names manager finalists

Five prospects will be interviewed Monday

In a second go-round at trying to fill the vacant county manager position, all but one of the candidates being considered this time is from Colorado.

Bobby Lieb, chairman of the La Plata County Board of County Commissioners, said the occurrence was “just the luck of the draw” and not something they specifically sought. But it might mean “there will be a better fit” in the group, he said.

“I wasn’t comfortable the candidates would be a good fit in the community (during the last search process),” Lieb said.

Lieb and his fellow commissioners approved five finalists, who were selected by a committee made up of county leaders and department heads, to interview for the job next week. They are: Edward Green, former Garfield County manager; Frank Lancaster, Larimer County manager; Joseph Kerby, Delta city manager; David Mitchem, Pagosa Springs town manager; and D. Michael Segrest, of Ralph Anderson and Associates in Avalon, Calif.

A morning request for additional information about the candidates was not filled before county offices closed Tuesday.

Commissioners will interview the finalists Monday in a closed-door morning meeting. The public will have an opportunity to meet the candidates that evening 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Irish Embassy Pub.

It’s the same process officials used during the last round of the search.

After holding interviews and a public reception, commissioners in January made a decision in executive session to pass over all of the candidates. A pending legal claim filed by The Durango Herald has prompted a court’s review of the audio tapes from those meetings to determine if the state’s open-meetings law was violated and if portions of the tapes should be made available for public inspection.

Commissioner Wally White said Tuesday morning that commissioners had yet to receive copies of the finalists’ résumés, but he was hopeful their qualifications amounted to a good selection pool for the upcoming decision.

“For me, it’s not a matter of where the fellow is from,” White said.

He’s seeking a manager who is familiar with rural issues, White said.

It’s unclear what attracted more applicants from the region during this round of the county manager search. Lieb said, “nothing changed in the process,” including the job description that was posted for job-seekers.

Commissioners could pass over the finalists again, Lieb said. The possibility of a third-round search to fill the county’s top appointed position is “always there,” he added.

“We want the right candidate,” Lieb said.

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