With interviews scheduled for tomorrow (Friday), the number of finalists for the position of Archuleta County administrator is again down to four.
A total of three finalists for the position have withdrawn for various reasons.
Late last week, Todd Crossett added his name to the list of those no longer in the running for the job.
According to Mitzi Bowman, Archuleta County human resources director, Crossett withdrew his name after reading in The SUN that he was not initially a finalist, and after reading comments from Commissioner Clifford Lucero concerning actively seeking out additional candidates.
Lucero declined to comment on the matter.
On Dec. 19, five finalists were announced for the position, and a week later candidate Todd Starr withdrew his name from the running, citing that he could continue to contribute to the county from his current position.
Starr, the current county attorney and interim county administrator for Archuleta County, was the only local finalist.
On Dec. 27, the Board of County Commissioners met to discuss adding another finalist to the mix.
During the work session, the board, armed with the knowledge of Starr’s withdrawal and the potential withdrawal of another finalist (Edward Gil de Rubio) discussed several options concerning the hiring of a new administrator.
One topic at the meeting was the potential that Gil de Rubio would withdraw and the possibility of fronting him money to fund the trip to Pagosa Springs for the interview — an idea that was dismissed out of fairness to the other candidates, and with commissioners Steve Wadley and Michael Whiting noting that the issue might indicate the candidate was not right for the job.
Also at the meeting, commissioner Clifford Lucero brought up the idea of actively seeking out and asking specific people to apply, with others in attendance stating that the job was open to applicants for a month, with anyone able to apply if they wanted the job.
Other comments suggested moving forward to the interview stage with only the remaining finalists, and further recruiting only if no suitable hire is found.
The path chosen through consensus at the meeting, however, meant adding two additional finalists to the mix who had previously been declared backup finalists (including Crossett), meaning that, likely, either five or six finalists would be interviewed.
Gil de Rubio later withdrew from the running due to financial issues associated with the January interviews.
Then, last week, Crossett dropped out of the running.
The candidates slated to be interviewed tomorrow are Alan Grindstaff of Crowley, Texas, Brenton Lewis of Holdrege, Neb., Peter Kampfer of Raton, N.M., and Jesse Smith of Montrose, Colo.
A total of 35 applications were received for the position, said Bowman.
To narrow down the applications to the finalists, Lucero 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 to the commissioners.
Among those eight, each commissioner independently ranked their top five, giving those results to Bowman to tabulate.
The interview process, Lucero said, will be threefold in nature — one interview with the outside committee that was also 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.