TELLURIDE – Current Ridgway Town Manger Greg Clifton will cross the Dallas Divide to become Telluride’s highest non-elected official effective June 2.
After meeting with its three finalists honed from an initial field of more than 60 candidates last weekend for final interviews, community meet and greets and town tours, the Telluride Town Council unanimously approved Clifton’s contract as the new town manager when it met on Tuesday.
“We began negotiating the contract [Monday] night,” said Mayor Stu Fraser. “The contract was signed today.”
Clifton will earn an annual salary of $107,000 and receive a $20,000 annual housing stipend as compensation for the position, which is a pay cut from his current position and less than average for a mountain resort town manager, Fraser said.
“The feeling from council was that he would be a really good partner with the town and with the council,” said Fraser. “He has a very understanding way about him.”
Additionally, “He knows a lot about Telluride,” said Fraser, indicating that Clifton “did his homework.”
Which is not to say that the other candidates, Shane Hale of Grand Lake and Mike Segrest of Moraga, Calif., did not.
“The comfort zone with someone from the region was so strong…as well as being extremely qualified,” said Fraser.
Since becoming the Ridgway Town Manager in 2001, Clifton has secured over $3 million in grant funding for the town, forged partnerships and facilitated land donations resulting in the town’s acquisition of over 80 acres of contiguous riparian corridor and two passive-use parks, and implemented council policies and objectives including a dark-skies policy, a non-toxic herbicide policy, an affordable housing program, community composting and curbside recycling programs, and a pending sustainable building policy.
An attorney, he has also provided land use review and legal assistance to municipalities including Mountain Village, Ouray, Paonia, Nucla and Naturita, as well as to the Montrose County Airport Authority.
Prior to joining the Ridgway government he was the Montrose City Attorney from 1994-2003.
“I think it’s just such a good fit, both ways,” said Clifton when interviewed by The Watch shortly after learning he was a finalist candidate.
“I love the community, I love the town, the progressive, cutting edge mindset,” he continued, adding that he likes Telluride’s “progressive, can do attitude.”
In the meantime outgoing Town Manager Frank Bell, who is now running a private community on California’s Mendocino Coast called The Sea Ranch, will continue his role as a part-time consultant to the town until June 1 when he hands over the reigns to Clifton.
“I know Greg very well,” said Bell when asked about his replacement.
“He’s perfect for the job,” he continued, adding that Clifton understands mountain towns and is already well connected with the local community and its leadership.
“He’ll work well with the council, work well with the staff and work well with the community,” Bell said.