Community Development Director Tyler Sinclair has a new title with the town as of Tuesday night: interim town manager.
Sinclair was appointed to the position by a unanimous Town Council vote at the council’s evening meeting. He will take the place of departing Town Manager Larry Pardee, who recently accepted the same position in the town of Eagle, Colorado, near Vail, where he and his wife lived for about 25 years before coming to Jackson in 2004.
Before the vote Mayor Hailey Morton Levinson pulled the item from the consent agenda to offer words of praise for Pardee’s work in the role since 2018, and also encouraging words about the skills and abilities she expects Sinclair to bring to the town’s top post.
The mayor called it “a bittersweet moment” as she wished Pardee the best and thanked Sinclair for taking on the job and providing consistency as the town moves forward.
Vice Mayor Arne Jorgensen, as well as councilors Jessica Sell Chambers and Jim Rooks, also expressed confidence in Sinclair, especially given the foundation Pardee and his predecessor, Bob McLaurin, have laid.
“I’m really looking forward to maintaining our focus on our core services, as well as the priorities we’ve [the council] set forward,” Jorgensen said. “And ... I also want to acknowledge that the stability there, as the mayor mentioned, I think it’s very important that we indicate to staff and the community that we’re going forward on all cylinders and we’re not letting off the gas.”
The term of Sinclair’s contract as interim town manager runs through June 30, 2023, and the contract guarantees that he will return to his community development director position if he is not named as Pardee’s permanent replacement.
Sinclair’s salary will be $175,000 annually and provides for 90 days severance, according to the staff report on the item.
The contract is effective July 15, though it was noted that the date could change depending upon Pardee’s departure. Pardee’s contract included a 90-day notice clause, but after he announced his resignation earlier this month, some councilors told the News&Guide that they would be willing to work with him if he wished to leave before the 90-day period was up.
Pardee couldn’t be reached Tuesday about his planned departure date.
Sinclair has extensive experience working for both the town of Jackson and Teton County.
That experience includes coming up through the town ranks starting in 1998 as an associate planner. After leaving for about four years between 2004 and 2008, Sinclair returned to work for the town, and later worked simultaneously for the town and county as planning director from 2014 through much of 2018, when he began working solely for the town in that role.
In November 2018 he was named community development director, a position he began working in early 2019.
Sinclair told the News&Guide late Tuesday that in taking on the interim role he looks forward to “continuing to work with the excellent staff of the town of Jackson to keep the day-to-day operations and the core services that are important to the town and its residents going and provide some consistency in that role, knowing I’ve been with the organization for some time.”
Additionally, he said he’s eager to continue working closely with the Town Council on advancing the priorities of its members, which he’s had a hand in for years alongside Pardee and the rest of town staff.
He said that under Pardee’s leadership he has learned to listen and hear all perspectives before formulating an opinion.
“I think I’ve certainly learned from Larry that patience and steady hand in making decisions and considering all aspects,” Sinclair said. “Also, Larry’s a strong supporter of staff and feels strongly about the employees and the work that town staff does, and I think that’s certainly something that’s rubbed off on me as well.”
Sinclair said he would give strong consideration to the permanent town manager position if the council went through its evaluation process and determined he was the right person for the role.
“I would be interested, but certainly appreciate that that process should happen and needs to happen, and we’ll just see how it goes,” he said.
“I think I’ve certainly learned from Larry that patience and steady hand in making decisions.” — Tyler Sinclair named interim town manager