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Mancos residents demand answers over administrator’s departure

Mayor announces trustees won’t talk

Three town residents demanded more details about the resignation of Town Administrator Andrea Phillips at a Board of Trustees meeting April 26, but Mayor Queenie Barz announced that board members would not comment.

Resident Holly Rankin, who also has worked with the town as a building inspector and tree board member, said the board owed voters more of an explanation.

“Please explain yourselves and explain the summary of dismissal of a very competent manager who made the town desirable and livable,” Rankin said.

She said it would be difficult to find a competent replacement for Phillips.

Phillips resigned on April 17 after four years in the position. Her contract had been up for renewal in April. Town Clerk-Treasurer Heather Alvarez was appointed as interim administrator at an emergency meeting April 19.

Resident Jim Justice, who worked with Phillips as a member of the town’s Design Review Board, said he worried that town residents were not on the same page as the board of trustees.

Jennifer Guy said Phillips was doing a good job and related well with people in the town. She asked why the board’s wishes were not compatible with Phillips’ managerial style.

During the meeting, Barz said she appreciated the comments, but the board would not comment on a personnel matter.

After the meeting and in a phone call on April 27, Barz told The Journal that the board wanted to take some time to look at the state of the town.

She said board members wanted to consider what the town had accomplished and then come up with ideas on how to move forward.

“The town is growing, and we’re excited about that, but we have to make sure the infrastructure is ready,” she said.

Barz said board members discussed the town’s comprehensive plan at their annual board retreat in July. Created in 2011, the plan was based on an 18-month community outreach effort that placed emphasis on diversity, safety, affordability, outdoor recreation, the arts, local economic opportunities, a clean environment and high-quality education, according to the town’s website.

The board wants to make sure the plan is compatible for where the town needs to be now and in the future, Barz said. She said the board will probably wait until several major infrastructure projects, such as the Beech Street crosswalk and Main Street bridge, are finished before looking at the town’s finances and considering new ideas.

After the April 26 meeting, Mayor Pro Tem Fred Brooks echoed Barz’s comments, saying the town had many projects on its plate right now.

“We have to take care of the town,” he said.

Other town business

Also at the April 26 meeting, board members approved several monetary grants to local nonprofits.

They gave $1,500 to the Chicken Creek Nordic group, which maintains a Nordic ski area in the San Juan National Forest north of town. The contribution will go toward the $22,000 purchase of new trail grooming equipment, skier Peter Brind’Amour said.

The board also contributed $1,500 to the Mancos Creative District, which will go toward improvements to the Ballantine lot just west of the Mancos Common Press building, associate director Carol Mehesy said.

Other town contributions included $1,400 to the Four Corners Recycling Initiative, which maintains a recycling station in town, and $600 to the Mancos Farmers Market.

The board also approved a $4,243 installation of fiber infrastructure near the Riverwood RV Park, which is being constructed on Grand Avenue east of downtown. The town occasionally lays fiber infrastructure when paved roads have been opened for other reasons, to avoid digging up the road more than once, Alvarez said. The RV park is opening the road to install water and sewer infrastructure.

Also at the meeting, the board considered town hall safety improvements. A safety committee has proposed about $5,000 in safety improvements, including security cameras, keypad entry locks for doors and window tinting.

The board will discuss the improvements at their workshop meeting May 3.


Phillips' resignation letter (PDF)

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