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Park City Mayor Says Council Has Given 'Full Story' On City Manager Separation

The Park City Council met last week under the new direction of interim City Manager Matt Dias. After what appeared from the outside to be an unexpected decision to terminate then-City Manager Diane Foster’s employment agreement at the beginning of October, some community members have expressed a desire for more information from the Park City Council. Foster will be leaving with a severance payout of likely more than $170,000, per her 2013 employment agreement. Park City Mayor Andy Beerman says that compensation is typical for an at-will position, high-level position like city manager. And as far as an explanation, Beerman says the city council has already given one.

“There is no dramatic backstory to this—the council decided that we wanted to make a change in direction," Beerman said. "We felt a new management style would be beneficial to the organization going forward. That's the full story.”

When asked how their management styles differ, Dias wouldn’t speak to Foster’s methods. He recently told KPCW, when situations become hectic, he resorts back to the “basics” of finance and project management. Beerman wouldn’t differentiate between Foster and Dias, either, but he says the city is changing its focus, from establishing, planning and engaging around its four community critical priorities to implementing them.

“The next probably five years are going to be spent on big, complex, expensive projects, and that's a different shift for the organization,” Beerman said.

The city won’t conduct a search—external or internal—for the city manager position. The position is one of two, along with the city attorney, that’s appointed directly by the council, and it isn’t required to be posted. Beerman says it’s the council’s decision, and they believe Dias—who will be on a probationary period as interim city manager until the council decides whether to install him permanently—can lead the organization. Beerman says there are some key hiring decisions on the horizon, and they shouldn’t be put on hold while a search for city manager happens.

“We have an assistant city manager position we're going to need to hire for," Beerman said. "We have a community development director position we're going to need to hire for. We also have a brand new city engineer coming in that we're going to have to, I don’t know if train is the right word, but we're going to have to usher them into our system.”

When asked about council’s vote to end Foster’s employment at a recent forum for Park City Council candidates, Councilmembers Becca Gerber and Nann Worel didn’t give more details on the circumstances around Foster’s separation with Park City Municipal, but both agreed it was a difficult decision they felt was best for the community.

Emily Means hadn’t intended to be a journalist, but after two years of studying chemistry at the University of Utah, she found her fit in the school’s communication program. Diving headfirst into student media opportunities, Means worked as a host, producer and programming director for K-UTE Radio as well as a news writer and copy editor at The Daily Utah Chronicle.
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