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Commerce City hired consultant to help new manager

4:46 PM, Apr 30, 2010   |    comments
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"It went very well. I think the council was pleased and I was pleased," said Dr. Bill Mathis of the Mathis Consulting Group in Napa, California. "Once we got everything set up with good practices, then they didn't need me anymore."

Mathis said in addition to helping new city manager Gerry Flannery set goals, he also showed him how to do a performance evaluation at the end of the year and helped the city council set some citywide goals.

The consultant said he worked about 20 days in Colorado during a 16-month period for the city for about $70,000.

Commerce City did not answer questions from 9Wants to Know Friday about the consulting fee.

The city says it evaluated Flannery's performance in July of 2008 and 2009. His salary is $172,800, plus $10,000 for a car.

Two residents say they are forming a citizens group to demand Flannery pay back a special loan that was offered to him by the city. If he does not repay the $450,000 home loan immediately, the residents say they want him to step down. The loan is not due until Sept. 1, 2011, per the terms of Flannery's contract with the city.

"We had no idea when they hired him that they spread the butter on his bread so good," resident Tom Fish said. "This really irritates some people. We could use some parks instead of a house."

Thursday, 9Wants to Know reported that Commerce City gave Flannery a $450,000 nearly interest-free loan to buy a house in the city. The city council is also paying all his real estate taxes and homeowners insurance. In addition, the council gave him nearly $100,000 for relocation and moving expenses.

"I think he should pay it back sooner than 2011," Councilwoman Kathy Teter said. "He should just voluntarily do it if he has the money. But if he doesn't have the money, then obviously he can't."

Teter and Councilman Jim Benson voted against the final contract for Flannery which extended the home loan until next year.

Many people told 9Wants to Know Friday they were surprised to learn about the manager's salary.

"City managers are like Wall Street CEOs, they get a ton of money and perks," Wheat Ridge Mayor Jerry DiTullio said. "They have high salaries, they have cars, homes and other perks. It's ridiculous."

DiTullio says most city managers are paid more than the governor, do less work, and are not accountable to voters because they are hired and not elected.

DiTullio wants to change the form of government in Wheat Ridge. He wants to make the mayor the chief executive of the city and he would work with the administrator to run the daily affairs of the city and implement policies that the city council set. That would eliminate the manager position.

He says that form of government change will immediately save Wheat Ridge $200,000 a year because administrators make far less than city managers.

That form of government is less expensive and less bureaucratic, and it makes the mayor and city council more accountable to the voters, DiTullio said.

DiTullio is gathering signatures that would put the amendment on the November 2010 ballot.

Teter says she is not sure how that system might work in her city because she has never experienced it before.

The Commerce City mayor's office issued a response to 9Wants to Know's previous story on Flannery on Friday. 9Wants to Know maintains that all of the information in the story is factual and based on interviews and public records. The mayor's office disagrees. Click here to read the response.

If you have any news tips, please e-mail 9Wants to Know Investigative Reporter Deborah Sherman at

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