Mission city administrator Scanlon accepts job in Colorado, will leave in December

Mission City Administrator Mike Scanlon is leaving his job to become town manager in Basalt, Colo. Scanlon has guided Mission through some difficult issues in the last few years and is leaving just as the long-stalled Gateway project at Johnson Drive and Roe Avenue is about to be resolved.

Mike Scanlon
Scanlon today said he will stay in Mission through November — his contract requires 30 day notice for leaving — and head for Colorado in early December. The vote on the Gateway development agreement is scheduled for Nov. 27.

Basalt is a town of 3,700 that lies on the highway between Glenwood Springs and Aspen, close to the Snowmass ski resort. Basalt has 31 employees compared to the 70 in Mission. Scanlon, 51, said he was contacted by a headhunter about the Basalt job after he had interviewed for a similar job in Avon, Colo., next to Vail. Scanlon said both of his daughters are grown — one a senior in college and the older works in city government for Shawnee — and there are places he wanted to live and work while he still had time.

Mission has faced a string of high profile, and often controversial public initiatives during Sanlon’s 10 years on the job. The east Gateway has gone through several iterations in the last five years, dropping some of the original components such as an aquarium and hotel. The west Gateway development along Metcalf is now being built out. The transportation utility fee stirred controversy and the city has tackled flood plain issues including removal of some commercial buildings, stormwater drainage fees, the rebuilding of Johnson Drive and the completion of the community center.

Working in Colorado was appealing, Scanlon said, because it has similar home rule laws to Kansas. Landing a job like Basalt is difficult with no resort-town experience, he said, but his philosophy is that you get people to agree on what they want to see in their community, set goals and execute them with lots of community input and that works everywhere.

Scanlon worked in city government from 1985-97 and then was in private business, including working at Skillpath. During his time out of city government, he served as a city council member in Merriam. He had been financial officer in Merriam. Scanlon’s father had been a city council member, which started his interest in city government work.

The Basalt Town Council voted 5-0 Monday night to hire Scanlon at $125,000 and a housing allowance for a year of “a couple thousand per month.” The Aspen Times reported that Scanlon was the unanimous choice of town staff, a citizens’ committee and a committee of western Colorado town and city managers. He was one of six finalists for the job. The Basalt mayor said Scanlon’s “professionalism, experience and demeanor” were the qualities that earned him the job.

Mission Mayor Laura McConwell was notifying council members of the resignation today, Scanlon said. For Gateway completion, Scanlon said Laura Smith on the city staff has been fully involved in the project along with the outside consultants.