County finance director resigns


Staff Writer

Archuleta County will soon be without two key employees, with no new county administrator hired and the resignation of Diane Sorensen, finance director.

The first search for a new county administrator was unsuccessful when the candidate selected declined the position. The county will now begin a new search for administrator.

County attorney Todd Starr will continue to serve as interim county administrator as the search continues.

Following interviews with four candidates on Jan. 10, the county extended an offer to Jesse Smith, of Montrose, Colo.

“For nonfinancial reasons, he was unable to accept the offer,” Starr said Wednesday morning.

Smith most recently served as county manager for Montrose County.

Instead of returning to the existing pool of applicants, the county will now re-advertise for the position, with applications accepted until March 1.

The position, like last time, will be advertised in The SUN, The Durango Herald, professional organizations, and through communication with counties in neighboring states, Commissioner Clifford Lucero and Starr said.

When asked about returning to the pool of finalists interviewed, Starr said, “We don’t want a good fit, we want the right fit.”

In the administrator search’s first iteration, the county received 35 applications, interviewing four finalists. Several other finalists dropped out of the running for various reasons.

Greg Schulte, former county administrator, resigned in November to take the position of assistant county administrator for San Luis Obispo County, in California.

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

Now, with the news of the impending departure of Sorensen, the county will add a second search to its list — for a finance director.

Sorensen submitted her resignation on Jan. 15, effective Feb. 8.

Sorensen is leaving to become La Plata County Finance Director.

“The position over there came open and that’s a good organization,” Sorensen said, adding that La Plata County’s oil and gas interest will allow her to better use her experience in the field.

Sorensen began her tenure with Archuleta County in December of 2009.

“I’ve really enjoyed it here,” Sorensen said. “I’ve enjoyed the work we accomplished.”

“Diane Sorensen has been instrumental in helping Archuleta County get back on the right track financially,” Lucero said, adding, “We wish her only the best.”

Starr, too, added his sentiments following news of Sorensen’s departure, saying, “Diane has been a constant, clear communicator and it has been a joy to be a coemployee of hers.”

Archuleta County is advertising for the finance director position through The SUN, The Durango Herald, and through professional organizations, Lucero said.

Applications received will be narrowed with the help of a committee that will include members of the county’s financial task force, as well as with results of a test administered to the applicants.

A final decision will then be made by Starr as interim county administrator since the county will likely not have hired an administrator by the time a new finance director is hired.

Applications are being accepted for the finance director position until Feb. 22.