ALAMOSA — Alamosa city councilors officially and unanimously voted this week to hire Heather Brooks as the new city manager.
“It was a hard decision, but yet on the other hand Heather was absolutely the right decision,” said Alamosa Mayor Kathy Rogers. “It was a very satisfying process.”
Brooks, assistant city manager for Cape Girardeau, Mo., where she has served for 10 years, was one of top five finalists for the position vacated by Nathan Cherpeski earlier this year. Cherpeski took a job as city manager in Klamath Falls, Ore., where he and his wife will be closer to their families.
The other candidates included Valley residents Donna Wehe of Alamosa and Don Van Wormer of Monte Vista; Barry Cook of Green River, Wyo.; and Douglas Gerber of Goodland, Kan. The city received more than 40 applications for the position.
“I think any one of the five would have been very good,” Councilman Rusty Johnson said during the April 17 council meeting. “All of them were very qualified. In my mind I thought Heather was way above the rest of the group, which was amazing because the rest of them could have worked.”
Councilor Charles Griego added, “We did have some really great candidates that were really interested in our community. That needs to be recognized.”
He said each finalist should be thanked for looking at Alamosa as a possible employer and for taking the time to come and check out the community.
Brooks is a credentialed manager through International City Management Association’s (ICMA) Credentialed Manager Program. She received her bachelor of science degree in business administration from the University of Northern Colorado and worked for the cities of Greeley, Fort Collins and Superior. She earned a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Kansas. She and her husband, a teacher, grew up in Lamar. During the reception for the finalists earlier this month she said the family wanted to return to Colorado and live in a small- to medium-sized community.
Councilman Josef Lucero said this was his first opportunity to help select a city manager, and he was impressed with the quality of applicants. All of the finalists provided great interviews, he said. Ultimately the council unanimously decided upon Brooks, he added.
“Hopefully when Heather gets here we will move forward as a community,” he said.
Councilman Leland Romero said he was impressed with Brooks, especially with her sense of fairness.
Councilor Greg Gillaspie thanked Fred Rainguet, with the consulting firm KRW Associates, LLC, for assisting the city with the city manager search.
“I am grateful for all those who helped,” he said.
He thanked the city staff that stepped up during the interim. For example, Alamosa Police Chief Craig Dodd has served as interim city manager while the council advertised and interviewed candidates. He will remain as interim city manager until this summer when Brooks begins her contract.
Mayor Rogers also thanked the staff for their help during this period.
“You did amazing jobs,” she said.
Brooks is expected to begin her duties with the City of Alamosa in June.
City Attorney Erich Schwiesow told the council the contract with Brooks is fairly clear and similar in nature to the contract the city had with Cherpeski.
Brooks has agreed to the terms of the contract, which include a starting salary of $97,000 per year with evaluations annually and benefits consistent with past practices for the position.