With City Manager John Dougherty announcing his resignation last month, Cortez City Council is now in the process of finding a capable replacement.
In a special council meeting Tuesday evening, Cortez officials will be interviewing potential companies that could aid in finding the right fit for the position.
Dougherty had to handle a host of problems during his tenure, including an embezzlement investigation, backed up financial audits holding up state grants and the coronavirus pandemic.
“He came in at a very difficult time. A lot of things going on. The embezzlement and the audits, then COVID. It’s the perfect storm. Whatever could go wrong seemed like it went wrong,” Lavey said.
Dougherty also had to make a number of key hires for city positions such as the airport manager and chief of police.
Only last week was City Council finally able to finish its 2016 financial audit. Years of audits still remain to be completed. Because of the backup, the city has been unable to apply for state grants or receive its property taxes for roughly a year and a half.
Lavey said the city is looking for a candidate that has experience, gets along with the general public and understands Cortez’s circumstances.
“It’s pretty hard finding the right person,” Lavey said.
Dougherty said his decision to step down was motivated by the desire to spend more time with his children.
“My kids basically said, ‘Dad, it’s time, and we want you closer to us.’ I will miss working with all the hardworking men and women of the city of Cortez, but it is time for me to move on and be able to spend more time with them,” Dougherty said.
Lavey told The Journal that it may take between three and six months to find the right fit. Dougherty’s resignation is effective April 30, so it’s possible that the city will hire an interim manager during the transition period.
“He had his hands full and he did good,” Lavey said of Dougherty’s tenure. “He conducted himself very professionally and carried on.”