Part 2 of 2-part series: A brief stop in Wellington would soon become a new job for Roy Eckert

first_imgStallbaumer shows supportWellington Mayor Roger Stallbaumer said the council had whittled the job down to three candidates in October which included Eckert, one from Kansas and one from Texas. Due to privacy issues, Stallbaumer did not want the other two candidates names published.The job was first offered to the Kansas candidate. The council was about set to finalize the deal when the Kansas candidate at the last moment had a change of heart because of personal reasons.It occurred near the same time that Eckert had sent a personal letter to Stallbaumer withdrawing his name from consideration. Stallbaumer said he contacted Eckert and after some negotiations, he had thrown his name back into the ring.“I would have been satisfied with any one of the three candidates,” Stallbaumer said. “I am very comfortable with Eckert as our selection. In fact if I was not comfortable or any of the other council members were not comfortable, we wouldn’t have offered him the job.”Stallbaumer hopes the Eckerts will be very happy in Wellington to the point they want to retire here.He said aside from Valentine there was no real disagreement amongst the council.Stallbaumer also has a message to the people of Wellington.“I want people to not prejudge the man, and see what he can do,” Stallbaumer said. “All the negatives I keep hearing is judgmental speculation and it isn’t fair. Just like (council member) Kelly Green said tonight, we hope and we ask to give this guy a chance and not to judge him right off the bat. It isn’t fair.” Part 2 of 2-part series by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — About the time the Wellington City Council was about to start its city manager search, Roy Eckert and his wife Jan were passing through Wellington.They were coming back from a family gathering in Georgia on their way back to Montrose, Colo. where he had just resigned as county manager.“We don’t like driving the interstate and like taking the “Blue Highways” through small towns,” Eckert said. “We stopped in Wellington on our way home and ate and got some ice cream. We were really impressed with what we saw.”But it wasn’t a thought that lingered with them. They needed to get home, and they got back on U.S. 160 and headed west.Little did they know at the time that brief stop would turn out to be so much more. Eckert said about a month later he was looking at a city manager position in a trade publication and saw that Wellington was advertising for one. He looked on the map and sure enough it was the same community for which they stopped on their trip home about a month earlier.The connection was made. That visit has turned into a new place to live.“We have always liked living in small towns,” Eckert said. “Some people like living in big cities, and others like living in small towns. We like living in small towns. That is who we are.”Eckert will bring his 35 years of experience to Wellington. Before arriving here he has served executive experience with municipalities and counties, mostly in Alaska, Alabama, Georgia and the Ozark Mountains of Missouri. He was also a city management consultant for the Municipal Technical Advisory Service for the University of Tennessee, as well as the Director of City Governance and Senior Program Manager for the CH2M Hill Engineering Company, where he was on assignment in the United Arab Emirates.His latest stint was in Montrose which he resigned on May 16, 2014. He applied at Cannon Beach and Florence, Oregon before eventually taking the job in Wellington this week. The Wellington council approved the two-year agreement by a 5-1 vote. He will be paid $100,000 a year plus benefits (see part 1 of story here).The hire does not come without controversy or even a little eyebrows raising. Council member Jim Valentine cast the lone dissenting vote and is vocal in his opposition. Also, Eckert was not Wellington’s first choice in the hiring process. More on that in a bit.In a Wednesday afternoon telephone conversation, Eckert, who is still in Montrose, addressed some of those concerns: The lawsuit“Honestly I have never seen a copy of it,” Eckert said of the civil district court lawsuit filed by Stephanie Barnett against the county and Eckert. “And if I did I wouldn’t be able to talk to you about it. Sometimes you get named in a suit because you are a manager.”Eckert said a similar case occurred while he was serving as a city manager in Missouri. A policeman got in trouble. But he, the mayor and the department head were named in the suit, even though they were out of town at the time of the alleged incident.“I don’t anticipate it will affect me or the job in Wellington in anyway,” Eckert said. Visions for EckertEckert said looking at Wellington, he sees great opportunity especially with the downtown area.“I think you have a downtown that can really be an asset to the community and something we need to promote,” he said. “As the American public ages, there is more of a movement to get back to our roots. Wellington can take full advantage of this.”As far as Eckert’s view on state and national budgets and the possibility of cuts coming down the pike, he has a unique view.“I don’t want to discount what is being done on a state and federal level,” Eckert said. “But my main focus is what we can do locally. Sometimes we can offset the lack of revenue from taxes with a little innovation and cutting down on costs.”Follow us on Twitter. Valentine has concernsFor Valentine he has some concerns about the hire.“I think there are way too many red lights here,” Valentine said. “This guy appears to be a job hopper and I feel I am a good judge of character.”Valentine said Wednesday morning that he was disappointed with him being the lone dissenting vote. He had thought maybe one other council member would have voted his way and that didn’t materialize.“I think there was not enough transparency with this whole process,” Valentine said. “As far as executive sessions are concerned they can throw it out the window. Why should we have anything to hide?”Valentine said he will be keeping his eye on Eckert and making sure he is doing the right thing.center_img Close Forgot password? Please put in your email: Send me my password! Close message Login This blog post All blog posts Subscribe to this blog post’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Subscribe to this blog’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Follow the discussion Comments (14) Logging you in… Close Login to IntenseDebate Or create an account Username or Email: Password: Forgot login? Cancel Login Close WordPress.com Username or Email: Password: Lost your password? Cancel Login Dashboard | Edit profile | Logout Logged in as Admin Options Disable comments for this page Save Settings Sort by: Date Rating Last Activity Loading comments… You are about to flag this comment as being inappropriate. Please explain why you are flagging this comment in the text box below and submit your report. The blog admin will be notified. Thank you for your input. +6 Vote up Vote down WellMom · 303 weeks ago All the negatives I keep hearing is judgmental speculation and it isn’t fair. I agree with this but I also think, what are we supposed to do? When you meet in executives sessions and don’t answer questions we as a community have, we are left to our own devices. I can say that at least Jim Valentine’s vote reflected what everyone I have talked to thought should happen. Unfortunately, Eckert will take the heat for things that were out of his control. I think he can come out on top of it and I hope he does. Thank you Tracy for providing more details! Report Reply 2 replies · active 302 weeks ago +5 Vote up Vote down stay positive · 302 weeks ago Who keeps voting Jim Valentine in??? Report Reply 0 replies · active 302 weeks ago -1 Vote up Vote down ThirstyBubbles · 302 weeks ago I can appreciate Jim Valentines views. He is concerned for our community which is a good thing. I would much rather see people who protect the community to the best of their abilities. Everybody is entitled to an opinion. All I have to say is Eckert saying he was “impressed” with Wellington? Sounds like rump kissing to me but I have no problem giving the guy a shot and seeing how he does! Afterall he has got to be better than the previous guy. It is a good community when everybody pitches in and helps each other out! Report Reply 0 replies · active 302 weeks ago 0 Vote up Vote down SuCo Pride · 302 weeks ago Jim Valentine just doesn’t appear to get it. A majority of the meetings were held in Executive Session because they dealt directly with personnel issues and contract negotiations. Both items are clearly defined as acceptible reasons for Executive Session through KOMA. There are privacy concerns, and an Executive Session is the only way to protect all of those involved. When you are on the only dissenting vote, then perhaps it is YOU who is in the wrong. Report Reply 1 reply · active 302 weeks ago +1 Vote up Vote down Crusader fan always · 302 weeks ago I have the highest respect for Jim Valentine and hope to God he continues to represent the people of Wellington. Hope he is not the one proven right down the road and only time will tell. Report Reply 0 replies · active 302 weeks ago +1 Vote up Vote down That Person · 302 weeks ago Generally, when employers look at the resumes of potential employees they look at their job history and how many jobs they have had, how long they held the position(s), etc. His ‘job-hopping’ seems a little cause for concern to me. Yes, circumstances are always different and especially when a person has had many jobs; but, a person who has that many jobs can’t find one that he sticks with for at least a little bit longer amount of time? However, we will see how this goes as he will be met with both congenial and frigid welcome’s from Wellington. Report Reply 2 replies · active 302 weeks ago -4 Vote up Vote down notlla · 302 weeks ago I sure would like to know what he saw in Wellington, I must be missing some thing . I think he may have seen $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ Report Reply 0 replies · active 302 weeks ago -5 Vote up Vote down The Dude · 302 weeks ago Welcome to Wellington, seriously. I wonder if all the city’s employees have a contract? I’m guessing probably not, who does. Oh yeah, Union Employees. Report Reply 0 replies · active 302 weeks ago +6 Vote up Vote down Guest · 302 weeks ago notlla open your eyes Wellington has a lot to offer and if you want to move, Planeview and Oaklawn has many homes available, maybe that is the type of environment you want to live in. Be proud of what we have! Report Reply 0 replies · active 302 weeks ago Post a new comment Enter text right here! 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Tweet this comment Cancel Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments The Florence jobEckert said he interviewed in both Oregon communities, and received an offer in Florence — a coastal town in west-central Oregon.“My wife and I got out there and discovered the cost of living was too high,” Eckert said. “Yes, they were offering me $120,000 a year which is more than what I am going to make in Wellington. But when you take into account the high property taxes, the high income taxes and the your standard cost of living out there, I am way, way ahead (financially) in Wellington.” The Montrose departureEckert listed contention in the community as the main reason why he left Montrose County after 16 months.“Montrose County has a reputation across the state of Colorado which even the governor of Colorado said as being the most contentious county in the state,” he said of the western slope county. “And I think it goes back several generations.”Eckert said he was in charge of 300 to 400 employees working for a county that spanned 2,200 square miles. He said the county had several federal issues that he won’t need here.He departed on good terms with the Montrose County Commissioners. The three commissioners of David White, Ronald Henderson and Gary Ellis all signed a letter of recommendation as follows:“Mr. Roy Eckert has served as Montrose County Manager from Jan. 2, 2013 until May 16, 2014, bringing years of experience to that position. The Board of County Commissioners has been satisfied with Mr. Eckert’s performance during his employment with the county.During his tenure, Mr. Eckert felt with multiple issues, many of which were politically challenging. He also reported to a Board of County Commissioners comprised of individuals possessing very different ideas on the administration of government.Mr. Eckert did not receive any negative entries in his personnel file concerning his conduct of performance during his employment. Rick did a very commendable job under the most difficult of circumstances.”last_img

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