Grand Junction City Council interviews interim city manager behind closed doors

The Grand Junction City Council held a special meeting on Wednesday, March 7, 2024, to interview a candidate for the interim city manager position. The meeting was conducted in an executive session, which means it was not open to the public or the media.

Why the secrecy?

The city council did not disclose the name of the candidate or the reason for the closed-door meeting. According to the city’s website, the council can hold an executive session for “personnel matters, property acquisition, legal advice, security arrangements, negotiations, and certain economic development matters.”

However, some residents and local media outlets questioned the transparency and accountability of the council’s decision. They argued that the public has a right to know who is being considered for such an important role in the city’s administration.

The interim city manager will oversee the daily operations of the city and its departments, as well as implement the policies and goals set by the council. The interim city manager will also be responsible for preparing the city’s budget and managing its finances.

The interim city manager will serve until a permanent city manager is hired, which could take several months. The previous city manager, Greg Caton, resigned in February 2024 after serving for six years. He accepted a position as the city manager of Loveland, Colorado.

Who is the candidate?

The only information that the council revealed about the candidate is that he or she is a current city employee. The council said that they chose to interview an internal candidate because they wanted someone who is familiar with the city’s operations and challenges.

Grand Junction City Council

The council also said that they received several applications from external candidates, but they decided to focus on the internal one first. They did not rule out the possibility of interviewing other candidates in the future.

The council said that they will announce their decision on the interim city manager as soon as possible, after completing the necessary background checks and contract negotiations.

How did the council vote?

The council voted 6-1 to go into executive session to interview the candidate. The only dissenting vote came from Councilor Anna Stout, who represents District C and serves as the council president.

Stout said that she opposed the executive session because she wanted to uphold the principle of open government and public participation. She said that she respects the privacy of the candidate, but she believes that the public deserves to know who is being considered for such a critical position.

Stout also said that she was not satisfied with the process of selecting the candidate. She said that she was not involved in the initial screening of the applications, and that she only received the name of the candidate a few hours before the meeting.

Stout said that she hopes that the council will conduct a more transparent and inclusive process for hiring the permanent city manager.

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