Last updated 3:58PM ET
December 14, 2017
KSUT Regional
KSUT Regional
LaPlata Manager Candidates, Part One
(2007-11-28)
TOP: John Schneiger, manager finalist

BOTTOM: Interim LaPlata County Manager and candidate Joann Spina.
Courtesy: John Schneiger, Joann Spina
(ksut) - HOST LEAD: What do three business graduates, two lawyers and one political science professor have in common?
They all want to be the next La Plata County Manager.
The six candidates will undergo two days of meetings, interviews and scrutiny tomorrow and Friday, including a public open house tomorrow night.
Today we take a look at three of the hopefuls.
We'll tell you about the other three tomorrow.
Here's KSUT's Victor Locke.

VICTOR: The six finalists to replace Michael Scannel were selected less than two weeks ago by the LaPlata County Commissioners.
They were among four dozen hopefuls who applied to the same search firm that helped select a new Durango city manager.
In fairness, since a local individual is among the candidates, the order in which they will be presented here was determined by a draw.
Each was asked why they want to come to LaPlata County, what they see as the two biggest issues facing the community and what qualities they have to address those issues.
The first candidate, John Schneiger, is a CSU business grad, most recently served as Community Development Director in Palm Coast, Florida and is now a development consultant in Jacksonville, Florida.
Schneiger says he wants to return to Western Colorado, where, until two years ago, he held city administrative positions over a period of 15 years in Granby, Windsor, Fruita, Montrose and Telluride.
He says there's a good match between what the county is looking for and what he has to offer.
Schneiger lists as his top two issues, growth management:
SCHNEIGER: INCLUDES THINGS LIKE AFFORDABLE HOUSING, ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES, TRANSPORTATION KINDS OF ISSUES, AND IT'S LOOKING AT, YOU KNOW, MAKING SURE THAT YOU CAN SUSTAIN THE COMMUNITY OVER TIME.
And inter-governmental relations:
SCHNEIGER: BECAUSE I THINK THAT'S AN IMPORTANT ROLE OF A COUNTY, TO HELP LEAD THE COUNTY AND TO WORK WITH ALL THE DIFFERENT ORGANIZATIONS WITHIN THE COUNTY.
And he says his 20-years of local government management qualify him to deal with those issues and more.
SCHNEIGER: I BRING TO THE TABLE STRATEGIC LEADERSHIP SKILLS, STRONG ORGANIZATIONAL AND FINANCIAL SKILLS, COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT AND GROWTH MANAGEMENT, INTER GOVERNMENTAL RELATIONS, CONSENSUS BUILDING.
The most familiar of the six finalists is current LaPlata County Interim Manager and Assistant Manager Joanne Spina.
With a business degree from New Hampshire, she boasts 27 years of public sector service, mostly with LaPlata County government.
SPINA: I REALLY BELIEVE IN THIS COMMUNITY. MY HUSBAND AND I HAVE BEEN RESIDENTS HERE FOR MORE 22 YEARS AND I'VE BEEN WORKING FOR LAPLATA COUNTY FOR NEARLY 19 YEARS, AND SO THIS IS A VERY SPECIAL PLACE TO ME AND IT'S OUR HOME.
Spina says economic development and growth are perhaps the two biggest issues facing the community, but she says they are inter-related with numerous other issues that are difficult to separate.
SPINA: THAT ISSUE OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IS TIED INTO AFFORDABLE HOUSING, AND TIED INTO THRIVING FAMILIES AND ALL THE THINGS FAMILIES NEED, HEALTH CARE ETC. DAY CARE, AND ALL OF THOSE THINGS REALLY ARE VERY MUCH CONNECTED.
Spina says her 19-years of service in LaPlata County qualify her for the job.
SPINA: FOLKS HAVE BEEN ABLE TO SEE THE TYPE OF PERSON I AM AND WHAT I CAN ACCOMPLISH IN THE COMMUNITY. I HAVE GREAT PERSONAL ENERGY, INITIATIVE, A STRONG WORK ETHIC, I VALUE PEOPLE AND I'M GENUINELY COMMITTED TO CUSTOMER SERVICE. YOU KNOW, I CAN HIT THE GROUND RUNNING. I THINK THE TRANSITION WOULD BE A VERY SEAMLESS TRANSITION.
Jaime Fontes is an attorney with the Green Valley Arizona development firm of Lawrence Klose LLC.
He's held manager and planning positions in Nogales, and Maricopa County, Arizona and San Diego County California.
He also served two years as CEO of the Tohono O'Odham Nation's Economic Development Authority in Sells Arizona.
Fontes says he's drawn to LaPlata County personally, by its rich cultural and environmental components, and professionally he says.
FONTES: IT HAS A REPUTATION FOR GOOD, FAIR, STABLE, GOVERNMENT, FISCALLY SOUND GOVERNMENT. THERE'S SOME GOOD INDUSTRIES AND GREAT TOURISM INDUSTRY, AND ENVIRONMENTALLY BASED, ALSO, ACTIVITIES THERE.
Fontes sees economic stability as the number one issue facing the area.
FONTES: IT HAS TO BE MAINTAINING SUSTAINABLE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN LAPLATA COUNTY THAT RESPECTS THE ENVIRONMENTAL AND CULTURAL COMPONENTS THAT MAKE LAPLATA COUNTY AN ATTRACTIVE PLACE IN WHICH TO LIVE. THAT'S NUMBER ONE.
The second challenge, he says, is job and affordable housing creation for those who live here.
And says he has the tools to address those goals and more.
FONTES: MY EXPERIENCE AS CITY MANAGER IN CHARGE OF 320 EMPLOYEES, 11 DEPARTMENTS, WILL ALSO HELP IN TERMS OF GENERAL ADMINISTRATIVE, GOOD ADMINISTRATIVE BACKGROUND.
The other three candidates for county manager are Garfield County, Colorado manager Ed Green, present Otero County, New Mexico Administrator Marty Moore and Maricopa County, Arizona Director of Government Services Shawn Nau.
We'll hear more from those three, tomorrow at this time.
From KSUT, Four Corner's Public Radio, I'm Victor Locke.
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