AVON – The meeting lasted 5 minutes.
On Thursday, May 31, Avon City Council voted to remove City Manager Virginia Egger.
Egger was an employee at will, and board members have no legal obligation to explain their reasoning in letting her go. Pro Tem Mayor Sarah Smith Hymes brought forward a motion to end “without cause”.
Before this motion was brought forward, the board had met in camera to discuss Egger’s annual performance review.
“After careful consideration of many aspects related to the City Manager, I believe the time has come to change the management of the City of Avon, and that such a change would be in the best interest of the Avon community,” Mayor Jennie Fancher said. .
A press release issued by the City of Avon said, “Avon City Council has determined that a change in the management of the city is best for the community at this time. “
Egger submitted a resignation, effective July 18, but city council preferred an immediate resignation, which Egger refused.
In accordance with its performance agreement, the city will pay Egger a severance package of four months. Egger’s annual salary was $ 174,760.
NOT THE FIRST TIME
Smith Hymes’ motion was not the first time that a motion to end Egger had been presented at a public meeting.
In November 2016, board member Jake Wolf brought forward a motion to end Egger.
Wolf’s frustrations with the GM stemmed from the departure of the WinterWonderGrass Festival from Avon in September 2016 and the events leading up to that departure.
Wolf had asked Egger at a public meeting what had gone wrong in the negotiations between her and WinterWonderGrass Festival founder Scotty Stoughton, asking Egger if she had offered Stoughton any cash and in-kind services. She told him that she had offered both.
At a subsequent meeting, also public, Stoughton said he was not offered any cash, just in-kind services.
Wolf then responded in November with the surprise motion to terminate Egger, seconded by board member Matt Gennett. He failed by a 5-2 vote.
Thursday’s vote was 7-0, leaving many wondering what happened between November 2016 and May 2018 to change the opinions of the rest of the board.
In a note to city council in January, Egger told council members that a potential development by Colorado World Resorts should be kept confidential.
Colorado World Resorts’ property zoning request was not confidential, and Egger’s suggestion that this was reflected back to him.
“What this demonstrates is a deliberate lack of transparency, honesty and accountability,” Gennett wrote in an email. “It is highly unethical and quite simply illegal to withhold public information, which is what we are told to do.”
‘LACK OF RESPECT’
At a meeting in March, council member Amy Phillips said the city manager’s behavior was disrespectful.
The statement was made in reference to a suggestion by Egger that the effort to restore the historic Hahnewald barn should be brought before voters.
“I’m 100% against allowing our GM to push us forward in a way that doesn’t work for this city and disrespects the fact that I’ve made this statement many times, and I I’m done with this and I’m sick of it, “Phillips said.
In April, local trail builder Matt Thompson of Momentum Trail Concepts reached out to Vail Daily to describe a strained relationship with Egger.
Momentum Trail Concepts built the iconic Lee’s Way Down Trail in the West Avon Preserve and had been booked by Avon to build more trails in town last fall and again this spring.
Avon was never able to secure the right to build the trails that Thompson had planned his time for, and he was not compensated for that time, which he said was his own fault for having gave Avon the right to terminate the contract.
Nonetheless, “I have never been treated so unprofessionally; I have never been disrespected in this way by any customer, ”he said of Egger.
On Tuesday, June 5, Avon’s ad hoc Special Events Committee met as part of its regular monthly meeting.
Longtime Avon employee Scott Wright, who was named interim city manager on Thursday, told the group his goal is to put the best face forward for the city.
Avon has a number of special events coming up, including the CoverRock Music Festival on June 22-23, the Vail Valley Brew Fest on June 30, and the Salute to the USA Independence Day Festival on July 3.
“Virginia has been very involved in special events, and I really haven’t been,” Wright said. “We are working with HRD and we will do whatever is necessary to support our events this season.”