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City Manager Under Fire For Job Search

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CBS4's Brian Maass talks with City Manager Alan Lanning from Central City (credit: CBS)

CBS4’s Brian Maass talks with City Manager Alan Lanning from Central City (credit: CBS)

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Investigator Brian Maass

CENTRAL CITY, Colo. (CBS4) – An elected official in Central City calls her city manager’s behavior appalling after he apparently went on a job interview to Burlington, Iowa, but later said he only did it so he could get Burlington to pay for his trip so he could visit family members who lived nearby.

“He needs to provide that town with an apology. He needs to reimburse the costs to that city and write a formal apology,” said Central City Alderman Rita Lee.

Lee’s comments came after she learned City Manager Alan Lanning traveled to Burlington in February to interview for their open city manager position. Lanning ended up as a finalist for the job but was not selected for the position.

Lee said she and other elected officials never knew that Lanning, who Central City hired as city manager in 2010 at a salary of more than $110,000 per year, was sniffing around for other jobs less than a year after he was hired. So in February she told Mayor Ron Engels what she had learned. Engels indicated he had no idea his city manager was looking for work elsewhere.

In an email back to Lee on Feb. 22, Engels wrote, “I spoke with Alan just a bit ago. He was embarrassed that he had not told me what was going on, and apologized profusely for that omission.

“He reported that he had no intention of accepting the position if it were offered to him. He said he applied for the position and took the interview because he wanted someone to pay for his trip to western Illinois to visit his brother, which he did do as part of the trip.”

Lee calls that explanation outrageous.

“I did not want to be an accomplice to other taxpayers financing a personal trip. If the situation was reversed I would be appalled if someone did that to our taxpayers and wasted our funds,” Lee said.

When CBS4 approached Lanning about the Iowa job interview, trying to ask if he was legitimately interviewing or just scamming Burlington for a free trip, he refused to discuss it.

“That’s my personal life … and not for you,” he said.

Asked if he went through the job interview process for Burlington just to get travel expenses paid, as Mayor Engels wrote Lanning said that was “not accurate.” But he refused to provide any specifics.

CBS4 has learned that Lanning also applied last year for city manager jobs in Alaska and Ohio.

A code of ethics for city managers dictates that “a minimum of two years … is considered necessary in order to render a professional service.”

- Written by Brian Maass for CBSDenver.com

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