Dissatisfaction with Aurora city manager has been brewing for a year, female council members say

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AURORA | Dissatisfaction with Aurora’s city manager has been brewing for over a year, explaining a rare and surprising move against him on Monday, according to city council members who say they are being treated unfairly by City Manager Skip Noe.

In an unusual move at a regular city council meeting Monday, Barb Cleland and four other councilwomen proposed a vote of no confidence for Noe. That measure failed to be included on the agenda because it could not get a two-thirds majority backing, spelled out by the city’s charter.

Aurora City Manger Skip NoeCleland said the failed measure was a last resort for her and four other council members — Renie Peterson, Molly Markert, Sally Mounier and Marsha Berzins — to get Noe to respond to their concerns. 

“For the last two evaluations that we’ve had with the city manager, several of us made comments we feel we had not been treated equally,” she said.

Noe said after the surprise move Monday that he was unaware of such a level of dissatisfaction, and that his most recent evaluation, just weeks ago, resulted in high marks and a raise.

But Cleland said complaints were certainly lodged during the most recent evaluation. The city council reviews the city manager’s performance once a year.

“I truly regret we have to do it this way. It’s not the way I like doing things, but when I feel that I haven’t been heard for over a year, it’s just very frustrating,” she said. “I’m an elected official, I would like to be treated the same as any other elected official.”

Mounier said that all of the councilwomen who expressed they had no confidence in Noe were women was no coincidence.

“I believe he has issues with women,” Mounier said.

Berzins was one of the council members to join in on the no confidence vote Monday. She said it was a difficult choice to make. 

“I had supported Skip all these years, and he has promised to fix the issues and he hasn’t. It finally came to a point that I felt like I needed to get a conversation going, bring this to light and not kick the can down the road any longer,” she said. 

Noe was appointed Aurora city manager in December 2010. He was previously city manager for Corpus Christi, Texas.

Berzins echoed her colleagues in her opinion that Noe had not treated everyone on city council equally, though she did not say whether the issue was gender-specific.

“I think Skip has been a very good city manager, but there’s more to being the city manager than just business issues,” she added. “I hope we get a conversation going, and immediately go into damage control and solve the problems.”

Councilwoman Debi Hunter Holen was the only female Aurora City Council member to say she was satisfied with Skip’s performance as city manager.

“I have always found the city manager to be fair and treat everyone the same way,” she said.  “He’s always responded, called me back, helped me with things. Sometimes I think that our city is moving so quickly, so fast that there are so many items that need to be attended to at the same time, that some things get lost.”

Holen said she had advocated adding an additional deputy city manager to Noe’s staff to help him better address city council priorities.

She also cited Noe’s performance review last month where city council decided to approve a pay increase, the majority gave him a positive evaluation.

“We gave him a good evaluation and asked him to address some issues, one being communication,” she said. “During that meeting there was never any discussion about a timeline or reporting back.”

According to city records, Noe makes $196,764 a year as city manager. His salary increased by nearly 4 percent in 2015 from the year before, the same increase that all city employees received as part of the 2015 city budget.

Noe would not discuss his performance reviews, and he said the issue should be discussed privately where he would welcome addressing his critics.   

“The way this process works is those discussions happen in executive session,” he said. “I have worked for my entire career effectively with women. I have never had any issue expressed concerning my ability to work with women.”

Aurora operates under the council-manager form of government, where council members set legislative policy and the budget, and a city manager carries out the day-to-day operations with a city staff. Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan has a full-time position while serving a mostly ceremonial function with the power to create and break ties on council votes.

Councilman Bob LeGare said council members are simply upset with Noe for doing his job.

“I think that Skip has done a fantastic job,” LeGare said.  “I have no issues whatsoever with Skip’s performance. The reality is Skip does not work for any individual council member. He works for all of city council. If Skip had done everything necessary to please the five opponents, he would probably have six council members wanting to remove him instead of five.”

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Joe Hardhat
Joe Hardhat
6 years ago

5 of 6 of the councilwomen have a problem with what they consider an “overly” professional city manager who serves the council as a whole without catering to individual members via special favors. Perhaps Skip needs to shave off his beard and become more urbane and effeminate in demeanor in order to pacify these ladies and stop all the caterwauling …. Meow!.

Frank2525
Frank2525
6 years ago
Reply to  Joe Hardhat

Somehow I don’t think that comment is going to spread peace and goodwill among the council. I may be wrong, but after 62 years of marriage I would not write that or even say it in public. Should have been handled in executive session, but obviously it was ignored there. And it should get the attention now that should have been given some time ago. I remember the days when Mayor carried a gun to council meetings, leading me to ask Mayor Tauer Sr. if he ever had? We both had laugh over that one.

Carpintero
Carpintero
6 years ago

Perhaps a more important issue to address is why does Aurora pay a full time Mayor who serves “a mostly ceremonial function”? Sounds like a great opportunity to eliminate that unnecessary annual salary and spend it where it directly serves the needs of Aurora.

Jon_Amendall
Jon_Amendall
6 years ago

Just as Skip launches his “Aurora Ambassadors” initiative to improve the perception of Aurora, the “good-old-girls” club shows why Aurora has the reputation it does.

Joe Hardhat
Joe Hardhat
6 years ago

I wonder whether Skip Noe has the “Bob Dole” problem with women. Republican presidential contender Bob Dole polled poorly among women voters, especially singles. One woman pundit ventured to say that Senator Dole reminded many women of their ex husband or boyfriend.

sfgonzo99
sfgonzo99
6 years ago

I see an agenda brewing here…….next comes the torches and pitchforks. Are the councilwomen complaining for themselves or their constituents? Why air dirty laundry in public? Seems pretty unprofessional to me without knowing the facts. Drive on Skip, ………………..perhaps you shouldn’t have yelled BINGO when you didn’t really have it.

Ashley In Aurora
Ashley In Aurora
6 years ago

Skip Noe was the City Manager in Corpus Christi from 2003-2007. Under his watch, were the following:

His Chief of Police was accused of rape. Read this article.
https://www.brownsvilleherald.com/news/local/article_a4a5897d-851a-5fef-b205-a868afa9e910.html

Skip Noe ignored city council during Corpus Christi’s water contamination crisis. Read this article.
https://stxc.blogspot.com/2007/08/skip-noe-ignored-city-council-during.html

Ladies of council. Do you ever research anyone?

Police Citizens
Police Citizens
6 years ago

The black heavy set women, who is a member for the Civil Service Commission is a snake, my husband had a hearing that she was to grant, or not his request against Oates, and his back pay. Oates came from Miami to attend during this hearing for break time, I saw this women hug Oates, then looked my way so how could this be or how this made her look and how shocked i was to see this, it was very unprofessional and she has very poor judgment in handling officers hearing. I was very upset, she should have done that in private and it made me think that she already decided against the officer. She is only at her position because she Cried Wolf, and used her black race to stay when they wanted her out.
We,’ll, my husband lost his hearing which again, I was shocked between Peter Morales and this black lady should be removed, clean house get these TWO out for gods’s sake!!!
Evil, that’s what they are and have no knowledge of policing. I think retired police should be counsel members.
The greatest thing that I am so thrilled is Dan Oates is gone, you have 3 states that argued his chief ability, why is this guy around police officers? Awful, person and police Leader!

insider
insider
6 years ago

again he we are Dan Oates real colors come out and now Skip Noe’s real colors come out. Why no real background investigations done? Well maybe the best thing that could happen is have city council NOT approve Chief Metz and get Chief Fran Gomez in here

Ashley In Aurora
Ashley In Aurora
6 years ago

The only woman to vote for Noe was Debi Hunter Hole-n-her-head. Maybe she is treated differently by Noe because she is married to Arapahoe County Commissioner Bill Holen?

Police Citizens
Police Citizens
6 years ago

YES. THAT IS TRUE WHO’S SHE IS MARRIED TO AND SHE CRIED RACISM WITH CRYING WOLF TO STAY AT HER POSITION, THE ONLY BLACK FEMALE WHO IS A..BROWN NOSER .

Kahuna's Sentinel
Kahuna's Sentinel
6 years ago

He is toxic like Oates and Must Go!
I reach out to him and for 3 years and he basically slammed the door on me and a city employee and he knew what Oates was doing! !
JoeAnn Falco

Jack D.
Jack D.
6 years ago

Skip Noe is just as trustful as Oates, not !
Skip Noe is a narcissistic controlling animal like Dan Oates, it must have rubbed off in all those secret meetings. …. uummmm.

Police Citizens
Police Citizens
6 years ago

I heard from a few good resources that Skip Noe is not fond of women making big decisions maybe he just doesn’t like the fact, that women can perform better then him.
he is a very strange man, I say get rid of him and soon.