Irish Pub to host county manager candidates event

Tonight could be residents’ only chance to meet the top five finalists for La Plata County manager before the position is filled.

County commissioners and the team of county leaders who helped to narrow the candidate list from 87 applicants to five will meet with the candidates at 6 p.m. the Irish Embassy Pub.

The five candidates being considered to replace former County Manager Shawn Nau, who abruptly resigned this summer citing family and health issues, are: John M. Faul, Edward O. Dickie III, Roy “Rick” A. Eckert, John J. McCue and Thomas Stewart. Commissioners’ interviews with the candidates will be conducted later in a closed-door executive session Wednesday.

It was “the board’s preference” to handle the process that way, said Kelli Ganevsky, human resources director.

County commissioners didn’t respond to a request Monday for comment on the decision and the prospective candidates.

Ganevsky said the board also opted against a more traditional public meet-and-greet with the candidates before hiring because similar events held previously were not well attended.

A meet-and-greet will be held for the public to meet whoever is ultimately hired, she said.

Stewart served as county manager in Lincoln County, N.M., for the last 13 years. The county operates a $33 million annual budget, is home to a 144-prisoner detention center and about 794 miles of rural county roads. Before his post in New Mexico, he served as a division chief for the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington, D.C. Stewart announced plans to retire from his county manager position in July, according to news reports.

Faul currently serves as the deputy county administrator for Kalamazoo County, Mich. The county is home to about 250,000 residents with an annual general government fund budget of $88 million. Hired to the job in 2008, he previously worked as a county administer in Van Buren County, Mich., and has worked as a community development director.

Dickie was appointed city manager of North Ogden, Utah, in January 2008, where he manages 150 employees and reports helping cut more than 18 percent from the city’s budget over the last three years. While the City Council has faced some community controversy in recent months, a news editor there said Dickie has not been caught up in the divisiveness and is generally a well-regarded public servant.

Eckert has served as an interim city manager in Powder Springs, Ga., since June, where he was placed after a 2.5-year stint with CH2M Hill Engineering, a company that provides outsourcing to government agencies, during which time he helped direct and write the governing structure for the new city of Powder Springs. Eckert also has worked as a county manager in Alaska and as a city manager in Alabama and Missouri. In September, Eckert disputed claims in a self-written editorial for an online news service in Powder Springs that the city’s mayor pushed him out of his post. Eckert said he left for both personal and professional reasons.

McCue currently works as the director of business development for AllenFrance & Associates, a central Florida-based firm that conducts auditing and collection services for local governments.

Before that, McCue served two stints as city manager for Orange City, Fla., leaving the final time for retirement in 2008 after a political rift emerged among the city’s elected officials on the heels of an election when two councilors and a mayor criticized him. McCue also has worked as a program administrator for the Florida Department of Revenue and as a county manager in Wakulla County, Fla. He also has worked as an assistant county manager and a county budget analyst in South Florida.

Source: Heather Scofield, durangoherald.com

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