La Plata County has named three finalists to fill the role of county manager.
Megan Graham, spokeswoman for La Plata County, said 60 people applied for the position.
The list was narrowed down by a review committee consisting of La Plata County Commissioner Gwen Lachelt, Finance Director Diane Sorenson, Human Resource Director Kelly Ganevsky and County Attorney Sheryl Rogers.
The three finalist are: James Halasz, a former county administrator for Halifax County in Virginia; D. Michael Segrest, a public sector consultant based in Boulder; and Stevens.
A public reception will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday at the County Administration Building, 1101 East Second Ave., to meet the candidates.
James HalaszHalasz served as county administrator for Halifax County from 2012 to 2018 after serving more than 12 years in Staunton, Virginia, as assistant and deputy city manager, according to a report in SoVaNow.com.
Attempts to reach Halasz for this story were unsuccessful.
Halasz resigned as Halifax County administrator in June 2018 after a “sometimes stormy” six-year tenure marked by “ups and downs,” according to the report in SoVaNow.com.
In 2015, the Halifax Board of Supervisors, the equivalent to county commissioners, tried to terminate Halasz’s contract after tensions boiled over in county offices. SoVaNow.com reported critics blamed Halasz for “operating in secret and retaliating against employees who questioned his decisions.”
The Board of Supervisors hit a stalemate 4-4 vote of no confidence against Halasz, and he kept his job.
But in 2018, Halasz resigned after closed-door sessions with the Board of Supervisors. SoVaNow.com reported the Board of Supervisors declined to comment about the circumstances surrounding his resignation.
Halasz was credited with several achievements during his tenure, SoVaNow.com reported, including forming a private-public partnership to bring wireless broadband internet to rural parts of the county and implementing regulations on the expansion of solar energy generation facilities.
Lachelt said each candidate was subject to an extensive background check. She said Halasz openly explained the situation at Halifax County and the review committee was confident in making him a finalist.
Halasz explained that a new Board of Supervisors took office and wanted to take the county in a different direction, Lachelt said.
“He felt strongly that (the previous direction) was a sound direction,” she said. “But they (the new Board of Supervisors) wanted a county manager that would better match their objectives.”
Lachelt said La Plata County’s Human Resource Department reached out to Halifax County to verify facts.
“He’s moved on and in a great frame of mind,” Lachelt said. “He comes across as the consummate professional.”
D. Michael SegrestSegrest’s most recent occupation is as a public sector consultant based in Boulder, but over the years, he has bounced around to a number of jobs in different states.
He could not be reached for comment.
According to a Daily (Grand Junction) Sentinel report in 2018, Segrest worked in his early career as a parks and recreation director and then assistant city manager in Boulder. At the time of the report, Segrest was applying to be Palisade’s town administrator.
Segrest has worked as a government manager in a few Colorado towns, including Boulder, Mead, Snowmass and Timnath, the Sentinel reported. From 2009 to 2010, he was also the town manager of Moraga, California.
Segrest also applied for the La Plata County manager position in 2012, according to The Durango Herald archives. He was beat by Joe Kirby, who left the position in summer 2017.
Chuck StevensStevens first came to La Plata County in 2015 as an applications manager in the county’s information technology department.
He previously served 25 years in the U.S. Marine Corps as a senior leader, where he managed organizations and supervised large numbers of staff in various roles.
Stevens became assistant county manager in October 2017 and then was tapped as interim county manager when Spina retired.
“I’m very excited to be considered for this opportunity and am humbled to have reached the final stage in the process,” Stevens said. “I look forward to continuing to serve the citizens of La Plata County in whatever capacity I can.”