Windsor Town Board seeking municipal adviser |

Windsor Town Board seeking municipal adviser

Emily Wenger

Following the departure Windsor's longtime town manager, officials are now wading through candidates to serve in an advisery role while they begin the lengthy process to replace him.

Former town manager Kelly Arnold resigned of his own volition Nov. 21, due to a request from the board, and Town Clerk Patti Garcia has been named the interim town manager. During its Nov. 27 board meeting, the Windsor Town Board approved an agreement of separation for Arnold and the town. The terms of the agreement — including more than $100,000 salary be paid to Arnold — were largely related to Arnold's contract with the town. The only difference, Windsor Mayor Kristie Melendez said, was a request from Arnold for insurance to continue for him and his family through Aug. 31, 2018, or until he finds a new position and has other health insurance.

Garcia on Monday told the Windsor Town Board that certain projects could "fall through the cracks" without someone to help manage them. Projects such as the Windsor Mill rebuilding, Downtown Development Authority backlot development and Rocky Mountain Sports Park need extra attention, Garcia said.

The board interviewed Michael Penny, the former town manager of Littleton, during a work session Monday night.

Penny said he has extensive development experience, and informed the board he will likely apply for the Windsor Town Manager position, so he would understand if it chooses a different contractor to serve as an adviser in the meantime.

Mayor Kristie Melendez said the board hopes to consider some other candidates, and hopes to have more options by next week.

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"We want to be as thorough as possible," she said.

At the same time, Melendez said the board will continue to search for a firm to find a new town manager. While Arnold did well in taking the town to 26,000 from around 9,000 people, Melendez said, the board wants to find a manager who has experience going the next step, and can take the town to the 40,000-50,000 the board expects it to grow to.

A new town manager would not only focus on development, but ideally be able to advise the board on how best to prepare Windsor's infrastructure for the coming growth.

Windsor's former mayor, John Vazquéz believes the town lost economic development opportunities during Arnold's tenure. Vazquéz, who was mayor of Windsor from 2008-16 and worked closely with Arnold throughout his tenure, said he raised concerns in Arnold's performance reviews about Windsor's economic development not meeting Vazquéz's expectations.

"It became difficult to do business in Windsor," Vazquéz said. "We don't have to sacrifice (to bring economic development here) and yet nobody is coming."

Though Vazquéz emphasized he didn't have direct knowledge of Arnold's departure and tries to stay out of town affairs, he said he expected the current town management to hold town employees to the same standard he did.

"If department heads can't make a change, it's incumbent on the town manager to do so," Vazquéz said. "And if they can't, the board has to make a change."

The Tribune has filed an open records request with the town of Windsor for information related to Arnold's departure, and is awaiting the results.

— Tribune reporter Tommy Wood contributed to this report

Windsor Town Board

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