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Harrington in the running for Vail town manager

Locations: News Published

By John Colson
Sopris Sun Staff Writer

Carbondale Town Manager Jay Harrington confirmed on April 13 that he is one of three finalists for the job of town manager in Vail.

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Harrington, 50, who has been the town manager for Carbondale since the summer of 2011, said he should learn more about his chances of being offered the job after interviews of the finalists have been concluded on April 18-19.

The other two finalists are Dave Buckingham, currently city manager for Morro Bay, California, and Michael Kovacs, city manager for Fate, Texas, according to an announcement published on April 12 on the Vail municipal website (

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The search for a new manager has been underway since shortly after the former manager, Stan Zemler, announced his resignation in late November, 2016, with the plan of leaving the office on March 31.

Harrington, in an interview on Thursday with The Sopris Sun, said he had submitted an application for the Vail job earlier this year, in part just to go through what he described as the educational potential of the interview process.

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“I’ve applied for another job a little while back, and I found that I learned things in the process that I might want to apply to my own hiring procedures (in Carbondale),” said Harrington on Thursday.

But he also said that there are significant reasons for him to consider the position.

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“There’s obviously way more to it than money,” he said, explaining that he has not yet had his final interview with Vail officials and was not even sure exactly what “financial package” would be offered to the three candidates.

Beyond that, he said, “It all comes down to fit, and you have no idea of the fit until you go through the process” of being interviewed for a position.

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He is also not sure he wants to pull his son out of school at Roaring Fork High School.

“It would have to be a great opportunity, and everything would have to fall into place, for me to want to move my son from Roaring Fork,” he said, adding that Frankie has told him more than once that he attributes “a lot of his success as a student to the vice principal (Kelsie Goodman).”

Harrington also stressed it’s not that he is tired of working for Carbondale, noting that “we have a good board of trustees here” as well as an experienced staff with which he works well.

Still, he said, it is not unusual to see a town manager in Colorado checking out other employment opportunities every couple of years.

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