Restoring public trust and improving city employee morale top the list of challenges for Durango’s next city manager, according to documents outlining desired qualities in a new municipal administrator.
Candidates for Durango’s city manager position – vacated late last year when the City Council settled out of its contract with former City Manager Ron LeBlanc – must be effective communicators skilled in developing teamwork and performance management, according to the City Manager Profile drafted by contractors with the help of councilors, city staff and residents.
Durango’s city manager, a position held in the interim by former Assistant City Manager Amber Blake, is responsible for managing municipal operations with a budget of more than $80 million and more than 350 full-time employees. The city manager answers to City Council and is accountable for implementing the policies and goals of elected officials.
City management has been the focus of public scrutiny in recent months after the Colorado Bureau of Investigation announced an inquiry into potential misappropriation of public funds and “perceived and actual errors in the (2020) budget led to its delayed adoption and criticism of city operations,” according to the hiring document.
“In the aftermath of the above recent and well-publicized negative events, the next city manager will need to focus both on restoring the public’s trust in the city government and on restoring staff’s previously high morale,” consultants wrote.
The city manager profile also identified challenges related to population growth, a rising cost of housing with stagnant economic diversity and major projects like building a new police station or water treatment plant.
The city is also looking for someone who can provide unbiased information to City Council, a willingness to collaborate with residents and other agencies, and offer guidance, encouragement, professional development and direction for city employees.
Community members described former City Manager LeBlanc as capable, fair and tough. He was also criticized for his interactions with members of the public.
“The city manager that reflects the community with an informal style that is personable, friendly, and possessing a sense of humor would be a good fit,” according to the hiring document.
A first review of resumés is scheduled for March 6.