Wednesday, October 24, 2007

LeBlanc selected for Durango job

Mayor says his sights not on administrator position

Express Staff Writer

Randy Hall

Following an executive session Tuesday afternoon, the Durango City Council unanimously selected Ketchum City Administrator Ron LeBlanc to be the Colorado city's next manager.

The vote was around 3:30 p.m., according to The Durango Herald newspaper.

It has not yet been confirmed whether or not LeBlanc has accepted the job.

Three finalists interviewed for the job last Friday following a public reception for the candidates the previous evening. LeBlanc, Ridgeway (Colo.) Town Manager Greg Clifton and Arvada (Colo.) Deputy Manager Bill Ray were the three finalists.

"In the end, Mr. LeBlanc won the job fair and square," Mayor Doug Lyon told The Durango Herald following the council's afternoon vote. "I'm pleased my colleagues are in support of that decision."

The Durango City Council's vote came only a day after Ketchum Mayor Randy Hall emphasized that he does not intend to take over the city administrator's job. Moreover, Hall said he does not pretend to have the expertise or experience that LeBlanc does.

LeBlanc confirmed in early October that he was one of the final candidates for the city manager job in the southwestern Colorado resort city.

Nonetheless, LeBlanc in early October in part pointed a finger at Hall as a reason for his potential departure.

"He (Mayor Hall) wants to be a full-time mayor, and I don't know what that means to my future," LeBlanc said. "Durango is a very attractive community."

At the kick off to a Monday Ketchum City Council meeting, Hall attempted to set the record straight as to his intentions.

Hall explained that the concept of a full-time mayor was brought up at the city's annual retreat in June within the context of public relations and the need for the city to do a better job communicating its agenda to citizens.

A recently adopted ordinance increased the Ketchum mayor's salary from $15,000 to $30,000 annually, and there have been several City Council discussions on the need for a full-time mayor.

"(But) at no time was there any discussion of the mayor taking over any of the city administrator's responsibilities," Hall said. "Furthermore, if at any time in the future the City Council wanted to officially make the mayor a full-time position, the issue would be placed on the ballot as a referendum for the community to decide."

Such a referendum is not presently contemplated, the mayor said.

"I want to make clear to the public two points: First, as mayor I have no intention of changing the status of mayor to a full-time position. Secondly, under no circumstances was it ever discussed or implied that the mayor would assume any of the responsibilities of the city administrator."

In a follow-up interview, Hall said he has an OK relationship with LeBlanc.

"I don't know what his motives were, but I don't think it was constructive for Ron to make those statements when they really have no connection to reality," Hall said.

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