Bayfield moved to replace its current town manager, Chris La May, by hiring an interim manager and a firm to search to fill the position permanently.
The board hired Kathleen “Katie” Ann Sickles, former interim town manager in Grand Lake, southwest of Fort Collins, to replace La May. Sickles will start Feb. 11, and La May, who has been town manager since 2011, will leave the position Feb. 14. If all goes according to plan, the position will be permanently filled by May.
“She has great recommendations on her past experience working with small towns,” said Bayfield Mayor Matt Salka. “She acts very genuine, and she wants to be part of this community.”
Town board members said La May’s departure for a job with the Colorado Department of Local Affairs was a surprise. However, the transition comes at a time when Bayfield is doing well and is attractive to future applicants, Salka said.
During the hiring process, the board interviewed three candidates for the interim position, including Joe McIntyre, currently the Bayfield marshal.
The board unanimously chose Sickles, who lives in Cedaredge, southeast of Grand Junction, in large part because of her prior experience, Salka said. In addition to her work as interim town manager in Grand Lake, Sickles was city administrator in Ouray and administrator in Cedaredge.
Salka said he was also impressed that Sickles invested time in Bayfield during the application process by visiting with local stakeholders.
The interim town manager oversees day-to-day duties, such as town construction projects and budget decisions, and advises the Bayfield Board of Trustees.
“I know that there is an election coming, so my goal as the interim is to maintain calm waters,” Sickles said. “I want to maintain Chris’ style of leadership and make sure that department heads feel supported. ... I’m excited to get started.”
The interim contract ends May 15 or until the town fills the permanent position. Sickles will work as a contract employee about 30 hours each week with a compensation of $55 per hour.
Permanent manager searchSickles has also expressed interest in the permanent manager position. She is drawn to the town board’s professionalism, and she wants to be near family in the area, she said.
Salka said the board will consider all candidates, including Sickles, during the search process.
In addition to advising the board and managing day-to-day duties, the permanent manager writes grant applications and communicates with other governmental organizations, among other duties.
The board approved a $9,600 contract with KRW Associates to conduct the applicant search. According to the company’s proposed timeline, the Bayfield board could consider semifinalists by early March and offer the job to a candidate by the end of March.
KRW Associates has worked with more than 40 Colorado communities. In the last two years, the company worked with five other Colorado communities on similar projects, including Cripple Creek, Fort Collins and Breckenridge.
“If they’re hungry, and they want that position for the town of Bayfield, I say, please apply, because we’re going to be looking at every one of those (applications) with the search firm,” Salka said.
firstname.lastname@example.orgAn earlier version of this story erred in saying Mark Garcia, interim town manager for Ignacio, was interviewed for the interim town manager position in Bayfield.