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Hot seat?

Anderson's the interim, but don't call him city manager yet


Mike Anderson, interim city manager
  • Mike Anderson, interim city manager

Assistant City Manager Mike Anderson will soon take over City Manager Lorne Kramer's job.

At least for a while.

After interviewing Anderson and Assistant City Manager of Operations Greg Nyhoff, City Council voted to name Anderson the interim city manager.

Anderson will spend most of his time wrestling with the city budget while City Council searches for a permanent replacement for Kramer, who leaves the office effective June 30 after supervising the city's operations since January 2002.

Anderson's position is enviable. In the past, City Council has often opted to hire interims to permanently fill high-level positions. Colorado Springs Utilities CEO Jerry Forte, for instance, was hired after serving as an interim. So was Kramer.

But Anderson isn't a shoo-in quite yet, city leaders say.

"The reason we selected Mike [Anderson] is because of upcoming budget issues," Vice Mayor Larry Small says.

Adds Councilwoman Jan Martin, "His previous job was finance director. We are about to enter our most important budget time of the year."

Anderson served 11 years as director of the city's budget department. It was his know-how that helped the city resolve $32.1 million in budget shortfalls in 2003 and 2004. He also drafted the plan to finance $110 million for the Springs Community Improvements Program.

Anderson knows money.

But being city manager means handling a broad range of issues stretching beyond budgets.

Anderson, who has expressed interest in the job, says he realizes the City Council will expect the new city manager to know stormwater systems as well as economics. He says he expects plenty of competition for the job, which currently pays a base salary of $188,694 a year.

"I think a lot of [it] depends on how satisfied City Council is with my performance over the next few months," Anderson says.

Council might opt for a candidate with a more well-rounded or higher-profile background to fill the opening for city manager.

Take for instance, Nyhoff.

He served as city manager of both Montague, Mich., and Fountain, earning the latter one of the country's 10 All-America City Awards given in 2002. Though Nyhoff has not managed a city close to the size of Colorado Springs, he's worked for more than 20 years in public administration.

Nyhoff says he is strongly considering applying for the job.

"They're both very qualified, and it will be a tough decision between those two," Small says of Anderson and Nyhoff.

Martin and Councilman Randy Purvis agree that both men could be good choices for the position, but say the Council will also consider outside candidates.

The recruitment process, administered through California-based Avery Associates, hasn't begun. Martin said she expects Avery to take a month to begin advertising the position, which Council is hoping to fill between October and December.

City Council has agreed to spend $15,000 to $19,000 for Avery's full- service search.

There is a good chance Avery will net an attractive candidate, and Council doesn't always hire insiders. City Auditor Jeff Litchfield, for instance, was recruited from Texas in 2004.

An outside candidate might offer a more balanced professional background than Anderson, or experience managing larger cities than Nyhoff has tackled.

If the city does choose an outsider, don't place your bets on a woman or a minority.

City Council members say they won't consider race or gender as factors when choosing the next city manager.

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