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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.

Alumni events, marriage and a real Nazi

Ron’s column from a few weeks ago inspired me to tell a story about a weird event from my past. Mine is not as exciting as his in that there is no wrestler named Silo Sam. But there is at least one Nazi. And, no, not the current “I disagree with your politics so you are a Nazi” version. An actual card-carrying member of the party.

Las Vegas Veterans’ Memorial to Boulder City?

Veterans’ memorials can be found all over the Silver State. They are well deserved. They honor individuals who served the nation, and also commemorate battles and events regarding the many military anniversaries in Nevada.

Is the grass always greener?

Many people in the past played a golf game to cement a business deal, didn’t they? They also played golf to socialize. Has Boulder City recognized lessening play on golf courses? Or, from another perspective, what happens when million-dollar homes are placed around our open space golf course with views of the McCullough Mountains? Do fewer people play golf on the Boulder Creek golf course?

Parting is such sweet sorrow

Shakespeare was the man when it came to comedy and tragedy. His ability to make people feel the intense emotions of the characters is still imitated today. The past few months have been filled with a bit of excited anticipation at City Hall as several longtime and high-level employees have found new roles in other acts. I’m here to borrow some Shakespearean lines, the first being from Ophelia, “We know what we are, but know not what we may be.” (Hamlet)

Me, my brother and Silo Sam

Recently, I’ve been enjoying watching shows on A&E related to professional wrestling back in the earlier days, with profiles on wrestlers I grew up watching as well as classic rivalries.

Let’s talk about the ‘D Word’

OK, as a starting point, I must note that it’s weird to think that I might be writing something that would put me in agreement with the Language Police.

Make a new plan, Stan

A plan is a method for achieving a desirable objective. It’s a program of action, usually memorialized in writing. Plans start with goals and ideas. But ideas alone (even good ones) don’t constitute a plan.

Time to recognize unsung heroes

We have so many functions within the Boulder City Police Department, from school resource officers to road patrol to the detective bureau. The work that they do keeps Boulder City among the “Safest Cities in Nevada” (newhomesource.com, alarm.com) year after year. One unit is the backbone of our public safety response: Public Safety Dispatchers.

Honoring National Public Health Week

In my eight decades of this amazing life, I have worn a great many hats: son, brother, father, major (USAF), grandfather, council member, state representative, state senator.

Shhhhh… Don’t tell anyone

So, there was this guy I used to know. And, yes, a million stories told in bars have started with that exact phrase.