Contract final with county’s new manager

Mesa County will pay its new administrator $6,000 more a year than the previous top management official, according to contract details agreed to Monday.

Tom Fisher will earn $131,000 in annual salary, versus the $125,000 that was paid to the previous county administrator, Chantal Unfug. Unfug was forced out of the job by commissioners in January.

Fisher also will receive 10 additional days of paid vacation, over and above the 12 hours of monthly accruable paid vacation time he was receiving in his previous position as interim county administrator.

Also included in Fisher’s contract is 15 days of additional paid military leave, beyond the 15 days of annual paid military leave afforded to all county employees who alternately serve in the armed forces guard or reserve.

Fisher recently was named a full colonel and brigade commander with the Utah Army National Guard. He did a tour in Iraq in 2004. He’s also a master’s graduate of the prestigious U.S. Army War College.

Fisher’s been the interim county administrator since Unfug’s forced resignation on Jan. 22. Previous to that, he was the county’s internal services director and director of the Regional Transportation Planning Office over an 11-year career with the county.

Unfug received a severance package that included half-a-year’s salary, or $62,500, when her employment with the county terminated.

According to Fisher’s contract, he would receive a similar six months’ worth of salary should county commissioners decide to end their employment contract with him.

Two of three county commissioners were newly seated to the board just weeks before Unfug was asked to resign.

Rose Pugliese and John Justman were sworn in as new commissioners on Jan. 7.

According to the county, a meeting was held Jan. 18 where it was decided to ask Unfug to resign. The Daily Sentinel has raised issues about whether proper notice was given about that meeting according to Colorado’s Open Meetings Law.

After being named interim administrator, Fisher later was announced as the only finalist to replace Unfug on a permanent basis, and no other candidates were interviewed for the position.

“We could not ask for a better fit,” said the third member of the board, Commissioner Steve Acquafresca, in a press release announcing Fisher’s acceptance of the permanent job.


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What part of “FISCALLY RESPONSIBLE” do our County Commissioners not understand?  This man has more vacation time then three county employees combined.  He will be gone from his job more then he will be available.  Was that the idea?  Have an absentee administrator?  The average Mesa county citizen makes $27,680 per year.  Do the math, as this man is being forced to live off of almost 5 times that amount.  He is now the best paid, for the expected time working, county administrator in the state.  OH wait! I forgot to mention his benefits! 
Steve Aquafresca was in on Unfug’s hiring and said EXACTLY the same thing about Unfug as he has now said about Fischer….namely a good “FIT” for the county…I could “fit” real well too for that income.

Thank you Duffy Hayes for bringing this to the attention of the people.  As a fiscally responsible citizen and a retired person on a budget, the contract “negotiated” is an unconscionable burden on this county and was NOT necessary. His door better be open to all of us when he is in the county and not in Utah.

I wish Steve Acuafresca would explain what criteria he uses in determining a “good fit” for the county. Why is this man so much more valuable than the previous administrator? Why was Unfug such a bad fit after being a good fit?

Something stinks here, and I think it is cronyism.

One more question: did the Chamber have anything to do with firing Unfug and hiring Fisher? Who is actually the puppet master of our government officials?

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