Grand Lake town manager narrowly survives ouster attempt
GRAND LAKE — Earlier this week Grand Lake Town Manager Jim White narrowly survived a motion to terminate his tenure with Grand County’s northernmost municipality.
The motion to terminate White’s contract as town manager, without cause, was defeated by a 4-3 vote on Monday. The motion to terminate White’s contract was made by trustee Tom Wydert and seconded by trustee Tom Bruton.
The motion to terminate White’s contract was made “without cause,” a reference to segments of work contracts that allow employers to terminate employees at any time without cause. Typically when public administrators, such as town managers, are terminated without cause, they are able to receive severance payments.
Voting in favor of the resolution to terminate White’s contract were trustees Tom Weydert, Tom Bruton and Cindy Southway. Voting against the resolution, and to retain White as Grand Lake town manager, was Mayor Jim Peterson, Mayor Pro-Tem Steve Kudron and trustees Phyllis Price and John “Mickey” Rourke.
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“We signed a new contract back in October,” Peterson said Tuesday morning after the vote. “It was set up as a six month review. In June we have his review coming up. That was his contract. We should honor that.”
Peterson went on to say that he believes White is a “good town manager”. Peterson said he believes White has made some mistakes as town manager but added, “I haven’t served with a perfect town manager yet, and I have been through five.”
Kudron expressed his support for White on Tuesday.
“I believe that Jim is the best person to do the job through the summer time,” Kudron said. “I will continue to say that unless something changes that would change my opinion.”
Kudron noted that the town is looking to continue working on or complete several projects this summer including the Grand Lake Streetscape Project and the Portal Bridge Project.
“Personally it is my desire that Jim White is the person that manages those projects through the summer,” he said.
Rourke confirmed his vote against termination Tuesday morning, noting his vote was based on the advice of the town’s attorney. Rourke said he “did what I thought was best for the town” and declined to provide additional comment. Price was not immediately available for comment.
Amongst those who sought White’s ouster few additional comments were made. Weydert, who made the motion to terminate White, pointed to the public record from Monday night’s meeting when asked for comment on his motion, adding only “I have lost my confidence in his ability to manage the town appropriately.”
Likewise, Southway confirmed her vote to terminate White’s tenure but declined to provide additional comment. Trustee Tom Bruton also pointed to the public record from Monday night regarding his decision to vote for termination and declined to comment further at this time.
For his part, White also demurred. Tuesday morning White said he would “withhold” any comments on the subject until a future date.
Under Colorado law personnel and employee matters discussed by government bodies are typically kept confidential, with all discussions being held in executive sessions, which are not open to public viewing. However, Colorado law allows any employee who is the subject of such a discussion to have the matter discussed in an open public setting. Monday night’s discussion of White’s tenure and contract were conducted in an open session after White requested it be held in public.
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