Gunnison City launches search for city manager

GUNNISON—The leadership structure of Gunnison City is changing in big ways.

Mayor Lori Nay and the city council are pulling the trigger on hiring a city manager this summer. Meanwhile, they are starting the process of filling the vacancy left by the resignation of Councilman Justen Mellor.

At a council meeting on Wednesday, April 7, Nay and the council talked about both situations. They reviewed the city manager posting details and discussed their strategy for finding the right candidate.

“I think we’ve hit all the right buttons,” Nay said in reference to the job description. “It’s mostly modeled after the one Morgan City uses with a few changes.”

She said the primary duties would be “developing, recommending and implementing policies; program planning; fiscal management; planning and zoning; administration and operation of all city functions; and services for efficient economic operations of the city.”

Nay said she anticipated candidate interviews in 2-3 weeks and making a final selection in June.

The council also grappled with how widely to advertise the job. The options were to post on a national, a statewide or a local level.

“There are pros and cons of going with a nationwide search versus local,” Nay said. “We have heard that if you go nationwide, you will find people who want to move to or back to Utah.”

Councilman Sean Crane said he wasn’t sure that Gunnison City needed to be looking nationwide.

“I think if we just look in Utah, we’ll be able to find something very adequate…,” he said. “I would also like to see it open for local applicants too. What I’ve found is that a lot of people who are out there, maybe that have left the community and want to come back, when a job comes up in the area, usually family will notify them and let them know it’s available.”

Gunnison City Recorder, Steve Jensen, who is a former employee of the Department of Workforce Services (DWS), said that by posting the job listing on the DWS system, it will receive national as well as local exposure, and it’s free of charge.

“Wonderful,” replied Nay. “You and I will have to work on that, Steve. See, this is why I love working with Steve.”

As for Mellor’s resignation, Nay said she was hoping to fill the vacancy for a full 2.5 years, but the timing of his resignation, and state law, means Mellor’s replacement will be an interim council member until Dec. 31. If the appointee wants to serve beyond Dec. 31, he or she will have to be elected during the November municipal elections.

“We all know about Justen’s resignation, and we just want to thank him for his service,” Nay said. “He’s done such a good job for us, and it’s sad to see him go.”

Nay said the city would post notice of the vacancy with the goal of filling the position within 30 days, but doing so would require meeting outside the usual council meeting schedule.

The council agreed on a special meeting on Wednesday, April 28 at 6 p.m. Candidates can apply by contacting the city office. Applicants will be interviewed the night of the 28th, she said.