The town of Ignacio has begun the search for a new town manager after current manager Mike Lee submitted his resignation last month. His last day on the job will be Oct. 31.
In a letter to the town’s board of trustees, Lee cited personal reasons, including a desire to move closer to his family in Arizona.
He also said some aspects of the job have proved difficult to work through.
“I have some frustrations here with the job because of some of the friction and some of confrontations that seem to be unresolvable, at least I don’t have a way to resolve them,” Lee said in an interview. “A lot of it is personalities, people not being able to respect each other, not being able to disagree and still be agreeable with each other. It may be that in a small community it gets magnified. Sometimes, familiarity breeds contempt.”
Lee has been with the town since March 2012 and emphasized that his resignation was voluntary. He suggested that it was more like a retirement than a resignation.
Lee listed several projects he would like to tackle before he leaves in October, including an affordable-housing market study for Rock Creek III, a parcel of town-owned land west of Ignacio; reconstruction of County Road 320 that leads to Ignacio School District’s middle and elementary schools; and the annexation of the Meadowbrook Mobile Home Park on the north end of town.
Town Trustee Alison deKay commended Lee for his work.
“I think we have come forward in a lot of areas that have been beneficial, and I hope we can continue down that path,” deKay said.
This is not Lee’s first time heading the town of Ignacio’s administration. He was the town’s manager from 1983 until 1990. He also was town manager for Bayfield from 1983 until 1985.
After announcing his resignation, Lee recommended that the town hold off on hiring a new manager until after town council elections in April 2014.
He recommended that Town Planner Miriam Gillow-Wiles fill in as interim town manager.
“I think in her career and in her development that she is ready and very capable of becoming a good town manager,” Lee said. “She is plugged into the network here with other communities and government agencies and economic development people.”
But the board decided to start advertising the town manager position Aug. 19.
“At this point, we would like to go through the recruitment process and see what comes of that,” deKay said.
The town can always make a decision about when to hire a candidate after it sees what the pool of applicants looks like, she said.
Gillow-Wiles said she was planning to apply for the town manager position.
It has “been a joy” working with Lee, she said.