County finalists down to four


Staff Writer

The search for a new county administrator for Archuleta County has been narrowed to four finalists — at least for now.

Last week, five finalists were identified, but, on Dec. 26, finalist Todd Starr withdrew his name from the running.

Starr, the current county attorney and interim county administrator for Archuleta County, was the only local finalist.

Commissioner Chair Clifford Lucero confirmed Starr’s withdrawal Wednesday morning.

In a letter from Starr to Lucero, Starr wrote, “The hardest yet most important lesson for any young lawyer to learn is how to say no to a case. Some of the best decisions I’ve ever made were not taking on a particular case or project. I am also mindful of the age old adage that timing is everything.”

After requesting that his name be withdrawn from consideration, Starr further wrote, “I believe that I have and continue to make a valuable contribution to Archuleta County from the position of County Attorney and that my greatest opportunity to contribute to this community is from the role of County Attorney.

“I am honored to serve as an Interim County Administrator until such time as a new administrator is engaged and I hope that the Board will continue to make use of my services in that interim capacity and perhaps now, in the selection of a full –time administrator.”

Lucero said he was not sure if the Board of County Commissioners would choose an additional finalist to again make a field of five or stick with four finalists.

A work session to determine that consensus is scheduled for 10 a.m. today, Dec. 27.

The remaining candidates, in no particular order, are Brenton Lewis of Holdrege, Neb., Peter Kampfer of Raton, N.M., Edward Gil de Rubio of Bristol, R.I., and Jesse Smith of Montrose, Colo.

A total of 35 applications were received for the position, said Mitzi Bowman, human resources administrator.

To narrow down the applications to the finalists, Lucero previously explained that the county formed a committee consisting of representatives of outside agencies — Joanne Spina (City of Durango), Brad Cochennet (Pagosa Springs Medical Center), Ken Charles (Department of Local Affairs), John Ranson (former commissioner) and J.R. Ford (business owner).

That committee, Lucero said, narrowed the applications to eight, forwarding those applications to the commissioners.

With those eight, each commissioner independently ranked their top five, giving those results to Bowman to tabulate, Lucero explained.

Lucero said the plan is to interview the candidates on Jan. 11, with a decision made and an offer extended that week.

The interview process, Lucero said, will be threefold — one step with the outside committee used to narrow applications, one with the Board of County Commissioners, and one with an internal committee comprising chosen county officials and staff.

Greg Schulte, former county administrator, resigned in November to take the position of assistant county administrator for San Luis Obispo County, in California. That county has 2,400 employees and a yearly budget just short of a half billion dollars.

Following Schulte’s resignation, Starr was appointed to serve as interim county administrator.