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City manager bids fond farewell

I may be leaving Boulder City, but it was not an easy decision. From the first time I came in and met the staff and community leaders, I saw a city filled with people who truly care about where they live and work. I am grateful for the opportunities I have had to work with some incredible people.

The day I was sworn in as city manager in August 2021, we were still required to wear masks. I couldn’t see what expressions were on the faces of the council members, city staff or residents in the Council Chambers. I hope they were expressions of optimism.

My appointment happened to coincide with two other appointed leaders, who have given me a wealth of support and advice: City Clerk Tami McKay and City Attorney Brittany Walker, who guided me through myriad Nevada laws and regulations.

During my tenure, I focused on recruiting top talent and retaining our existing capable workforce. Among some of the key hires and promotions:

■ Utilities Director Joe Stubitz, who grew up in Boulder City, has been diligent in balancing the challenges of the drought on Lake Mead and its impact on the city.

■ Finance Director Cynthia Sneed, who is building up morale and pride in our finance department.

■ Parks and Recreation Director Julie Calloway, recently promoted and bringing innovative ideas to the city.

■ Two Public Works Directors. Jamie Curreri started in September 2022 and left in April for an opportunity in the private sector. (The new director was named after this publication’s deadline, but is posted at www.bcnv.org.)

In 2023, I added the Employee of the Quarter Recognition, creating a meaningful recognition program for employees to recognize their coworkers. The Employee of the Year is selected from the four meritorious employees of the quarter at the end of the year.

Council, employees, residents and community stakeholders took me up on my open door policy. Gathering resident feedback through town hall discussions and various online surveys shaped several decisions, including direction on our dog park at Veterans’ Memorial Park, guidance on how to spend $21.7 million in ARPA funds, and more.

Speaking of the ARPA funds, the input of residents, city staff and City Council helped the city invest these once-in-a-lifetime funds. Several innovative programs and projects have been established, including the hospital position “Community Resource Liaison” to reduce calls for service to first responders, sustainable water and wastewater projects, an electric vehicle pilot program, pickleball courts, ADA improvements and much more.

Public safety always will be a top priority to council and residents. Police Chief Tim Shea and his staff leadership have done an exemplary job in recruiting officers in an era where fewer people are entering the field. Acting Fire Chief Greg Chesser is essential in maintaining the department’s Commission on Fire Accreditation International certification. Judge Victor Miller, who is retiring in January, continues to change lives with his Breaking the Cycle Recovery Program.

In the coming months, Michael Mays will be interim city manager – a role he handled capably before I arrived. His work in historical preservation, community development and economic development keep Boulder City thriving. Ensuring visitors know where to find local restaurants, shops, parks, and more supports the local economy and businesses. Michael and Economic Development Coordinator Raffi Festekjian teamed up with Jill Lagan at the Boulder City Chamber of Commerce to make wayfinding improvements and to support new businesses.

Being a city manager is not a 9-to-5 job – it really requires a lot of energy and focus. I’ve been incredibly fortunate that Executive Administrative Assistant Kristol Bias acted as my support system, keeping me on task. Sharing our work was made easier with Lisa LaPlante, Holly Webb and Carly Poindexter, who publicized important news and produced episodes of “TEDder Talks” for broadcast on BCTV and posted to www.bcnv.org/tedder.

So… what’s next? City Council will be searching for a permanent city manager in the coming months. Sale and development of Tract 350 is moving forward. There is a ballot question for spending existing funds to build a new city pool. We’ve done a lot of work, but there is still much to be accomplished.

I believe council will seek and find someone who shared in my dedication to improve the quality of life for residents, business owners, and visitors while preserving the community’s character. I hope as I head to the East Coast, you remember me as having a positive impact on the community. I may be leaving Boulder City, but Boulder City will always be a place I can call home.

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