Dacono’s city council inched closer to replacing their city manager during a special meeting on March 20, but internal disagreements could further delay the body’s efforts.
Special Dacono City Council Mtg. – March 20, 2023
During the meeting, the body agreed to hold discussions about hiring an interim city manager while they continue to look for candidates to fill a permanent role. The agreement marks the first step toward replacing former city manager A.J. Euckert about a month after he was terminated in a surprise motion.
Since then, the body has voted down multiple different motions to move into an executive session, a private meeting between city council and the mayor to discuss options for filling the role.
Dacono Mayor Adam Morehead noted that replacing Euckert could be costly because Dacono will likely have to hire a consulting firm to help find candidates.
“To find a city manager on an interim, or even a permanent basis is going to cost a lot of money, and we need to figure out where that money is going to come from,” Morehead said during the meeting.
Morehead added that there is a city employee that is willing to serve as an interim city manager until a permanent replacement is found. Morehead said Dacono’s four department leaders sent him a letter of support for the position and implored city council to approve it at a future meeting.
Kelly Stroh, the city’s finance manager, told city council that the city staff supports elevating the
employee to the interim position because it would allow Dacono to “keep its forward momentum” on projects ranging from infrastructure upgrades to finding a new water source. Stroh also estimated that hiring an interim manager from within could save the city between $10,000 and $15,000 per month in personnel expenses.
However, there seemed to be disagreement with the approach.
Mayor Pro Tem Kathryn Wittman suggested that Dacono might not need an interim manager and could use temporary employment agencies like the Employer’s Council to find a candidate for a permanent role. Wittman has also previously suggested elevating an intern who started on the day of Euckert’s firing to the city manager’s role.
Meanwhile, council member Jackie Thomas, who is facing a recall for her vote to remove Euckert, requested permission for city council members to review the resumes of city manager candidates at home, which she said could “speed up the candidate review process.”
Morehead said he would check with the applicants about sharing their information and promised that all relevant materials would be available in executive session.
The disagreements also come at a time when Dacono is facing a staffing shortage. Stroh said Dacono has nine unfilled positions in the city, representing about 20% of the city’s overall staff. This has strained the operations of several city departments, she added.
At the same time, Stroh said Euckert’s firing has significantly strained Dacono’s budget. Stroh said the city has spent approximately $272,000 in the city manager’s salary, benefits, taxes, and contracted severance pay since the beginning of the year. This leaves Dacono with a budget of about $85,000 to fill the city manager role and hire an executive assistant, Stroh added.
“We will continue to work hard and be dedicated to the needs of the community and pulling through this difficult time,” Stroh said. “Please help us by making this transition as smooth as possible.”
Previous YS coverage:
City Manager A.J. Euckert was terminated in a surprise outcome at Monday’s City Council meeting
Dacono Mayor asks for an official investigation of city manager’s termination
Recall petitions circulating for Dacono council members who voted out city manager
Dacono council emails show city manager’s firing was at least six months in the making, but questions remain
Residents say Dacono council members went to door-to-door to oppose recall