DDA board ends contract with newly hired director

John Schneiger
John Schneiger

The Downtown Development Authority in Grand Junction will resume the search for a director after a contract with a newly hired executive was terminated after less than two months on the job.

The DDA board of directors announced in a news release it ended a contract with John Schneiger effective Dec. 4. Schneiger was hired in September and began working in early October.

The contract included an evaluation period to determine if there was a “good fit” between the board and Schneiger.

“John has significant public sector experience, but we were not able to offer him what he needed in terms of support staff and other organizational aspects of the job. Out of fairness to him, the board concluded that it would be better to end now than to continue and have his and our expectations unmet,” Jason Farrington, chairman of the DDA board, stated in the news release.

“The DDA has lots of challenges before it, and it is imperative that we have exactly the right person at the helm. We recognized that in the contract. And although not what we hoped for, the separation is best,” Farrington stated. “We thank John for the time he was with us and wish him well in his future endeavors.”

Kirk Granum, vice chairman of the DDA board, stated the situation was a difficult one. “John’s separation is not easy, but we have a duty to our constituents to make the best decisions we can even if they are as hard as this one was.”

Calling the contract separation a “personnel matter,” the DDA board stated in the release no interviews would be granted or additional information made available. The news release stated the board will decide later on a leadership transition plan and provide information about that plan.

Schneiger was selected over two other finalists for the DDA job: Jon Maraschin, executive director of the Business Incubator Center in Grand Junction, and Matthew Selby, director of community development in Ashland, Mass.

Schneiger worked as city manager in Fruita and Montrose and subsequently New Port Richey in Florida.

Schneiger was hired to succeed Harry Weiss, who served as director of both the DDA and Downtown Grand Junction Business Improvement District, but left earlier this year to take a position in Louisiana. The DDA uses what’s called tax increment financing to fund capital improvement projects, economic development and other efforts that promote downtown.