County finalizes pact with interim manager

The Mesa County Commission on Monday finalized an agreement with former Department of Human Services Director Tom Papin to become the interim county administrator.

The agreement calls for Papin, who will start Jan. 3, to receive $10,500 a month in salary. The county also will furnish Papin with a vehicle, a laptop computer, a cell phone and housing at The Commons.

Under the terms of the agreement, Papin and the county must give each other 30 days’ notice if either one wishes to terminate Papin’s employment within the first three months. After three months, neither party has to give advanced notice to terminate Papin’s employment.

Papin, 65, will take over for Acting County Administrator Stefani Conley, who took over the job in July when Jon Peacock resigned. Conley has said she’s ready to return to her duties as the assistant county administrator.

Papin headed the county Department of Human Services for eight years before resigning in 2005, immediately before Commissioners Craig Meis and Janet Rowland took office. Papin left Colorado to become director of Hillsborough County Children’s Services in Tampa, Fla. He retired from that job earlier this year.

He contacted Rowland to express interest in the interim county administrator position, and commissioners tapped Papin because of his familiarity with the community.

Commissioners also said they felt that because Papin isn’t a county employee, he’ll push back on the board and provide them honest feedback.

It’s unclear how long Papin will serve in the interim role. Commissioners have said they would like an interim administrator for three to six months while they look into whether to hire a permanent administrator or assume day-to-day control of county government themselves.

Papin will be the third new top-level administrator to join the county. Tracey Garchar was recently selected Human Services director after serving in that role on an interim basis after the termination of Len Stewart. Jeff Kuhr will begin as the director of the Health Department Jan. 3.

In other business, commissioners agreed to waive planning review fees in 2011 as part of an ongoing effort to encourage new business development and existing business expansion in the county.

Planning review fees also were suspended this year.


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