Manitou Springs has parted with its city administrator just weeks after a new mayor and council members took office.
The City Council voted to cut ties with Jason Wells following an executive session at a special meeting on Tuesday, said Mayor Ken Jaray, who was sworn in along with two new council members on Jan. 2.
"The council wanted to take a different direction and thought that, with a new council starting, it was a good opportunity to start in that new direction," Jaray said, declining to elaborate.
He said the vote was not unanimous but did not specify which council members dissented.
Wells, who started in June 2014, texted Friday that he "was pleased to come to amicable and what I feel are mutually beneficial terms of separation with the city."
"No doubt, it's bittersweet, but I recognize and respect that the city is looking to move ahead in a different operational direction," he said. "I move on feeling proud of all the amazing accomplishments a very modestly-sized, yet extremely talented city staff was able to advance during my tenure. As the eclectic and endearing Manitou Springs community sets about writing its next chapter, I of course wish nothing but the best for its future and its prosperity."
According to a memo from the city clerk, the city "entered into a mutually agreeable separation agreement" with Wells on Wednesday. The clerk's office did not respond to phone calls late Friday afternoon seeking clarification.
Manitou Springs Finance Director Rebecca Davis has been appointed interim administrator.
The council is slated to discuss the hiring process for a new manager at a work session on Tuesday. The city is considering hiring a search firm to recruit candidates, Jaray said.
City Clerk Donna Kast has requested Wells be paid about $4,150 for 10 days of paid administrative leave that he would have been entitled to in 2018 if he continued working for the city. Certain city staff members are given administrative leave time if they regularly work more than 40 hours a week. In 2017, Wells "worked significantly more than 40 hours" most weeks, according to the memo from Kast.
The administrator's duties include overseeing day-to-day government operations, serving as the budget officer and supervising some of the city department heads, Jaray said.
Jaray, who emphasized a need for new city leadership, defeated incumbent Nicole Nicoletta with nearly 65 percent of the vote in November. He has said he hopes to strengthen the public's trust in the local government and boost citizen engagement.
Contact Rachel Riley: 636-0108