Moab City Manager David Everitt said he will not seek to renew his employment contract with the city when it lapses later this year.
“I’ve loved being part of this community again and working with the rest of the staff here at the city,” Everitt said in a statement. “Local government is where good work gets done. But it’s time to explore other opportunities and chart a different course for what’s next for me professionally.”
After spending eight years in Salt Lake City working as chief of staff then chief operating officer for the city, Everitt took the city manager job in Moab in October 2016. He had fulfilled a small management contract in Moab 14 years prior.
As the head of city staff, Everitt is the highest link in the chain of command for all of the city’s day-to-day operations, from planning and zoning to parks and recreation. Everitt has also been tasked with carrying out some of the city’s top operational priorities, including the recent contract negotiations with Monument Waste Services.
Everitt told The Times-Independent that among his top accomplishments in the role were the development of a new wastewater reclamation facility and the “stabilization” he brought to the city, particularly the police department.
Council members have previously lauded Everitt for efforts toward steadying city hall, with former mayor Dave Sakrison saying he helped to “stabilize the government” of Moab.
Council Member Tawny Knuteson-Boyd said, “The stability that you bring and the experience that you bring and from what I see, just the comfort level of the staff that you bring, those are all extremely valuable… I think that those are really important issues,” she said of Everitt in 2017.
Everitt hired key staff positions, including the city engineer, sustainability manager and communications manager. Everitt also brought on Chief of Police Jim Winder, who was previously the sheriff in Salt Lake County.
As for his shortcomings, Everitt said he would have liked to have advanced the city’s planning efforts more before departing. The city is one month into a six-month moratorium on the development of overnight accommodations and working to put together a long-term plan to stem the tide of new hotels, motels and other vacation housing in town.
“[I] would have liked to have moved more quickly to coordinate with county on land use planning and the development process; there is certainly unfinished work to be done there and with the city’s planning efforts,” Everitt told The T-I.
As for who will come after Everitt, no formal decision has yet been made. The only candidate who has been interviewed so far for the position is Joel Linares, who is currently the assistant city manager.
Linares was interviewed for the position by the Moab City Council in February, answering questions about his strengths, leadership style and what he sees as the top challenges for Moab. Among the topics he covered was the idea floating around the legislature to restructure sales and use tax, the primary driver of Moab’s tax revenue in lieu of property tax.
Linares advocated that the council have a stronger presence at the state capitol in Salt Lake City during each year’s whirlwind, 45-day legislative session. One challenge on this front is that city council members and the mayor traditionally have other jobs in the Moab area and lack the ability to be present at the legislature for long periods of time.
“I think we need to look at hiring our own lobbyist, as the city,” Linares said during the interview with council members.
The city council is expected to make a final decision on hiring a new manager before Everitt’s contract expires on Aug. 1.