December 27, 2017 - 2:35 pm
As I look back at the past 361 days, there is one thing throughout 2017 that has been constant: change.
While it’s true that nothing ever stays the same, the past year in Boulder City has been marked by many changes.
Key among those changes have been the departure of several high-ranking city employees. Gone are the city manager, city attorney, community development director, finance director and airport manager, either through resignation — by request or choice — or reassignment.
While some of these departures were planned with enough notice to make alternative arrangements to ensure those people’s duties were handled, others were not, leaving remaining staff to scramble to get the job done, often doing their work as well as someone else’s.
Public Works Director Scott Hansen has been doing double duty as acting city manager since early June. At this point in time, there appears to be no end in sight as the search for a new city manager continues.
The city also has been without a permanent attorney for half the year. After a months-long search, council members voted to appoint assistant and acting city attorney Steve Morris to the position, though that appointment remains in limbo as they await a decision from the attorney general regarding complaints about open meeting law violations regarding the hiring process.
Brok Armantrout, the former community development director, was reassigned to special projects coordinator in May and was replaced by Michael Mays in September.
After serving less than a year, Hyun Kim, the city’s finance director, resigned in August to take a new position in Washington. His replacement, Diane Pelletier, starts early next year.
Airport Manager Kerry Ahern resigned in March and was replaced by Jennifer Lopez in August.
Although any employer will experience some turnover in a given year, the number of changes in city leadership this year leaves many unanswered questions about the reasons why.
A growing unhappiness and unease among local residents was evident during the June municipal election, bringing more changes to the city’s leadership. After Councilman Duncan McCoy decided not to seek a third term, incumbent Councilman Cam Walker lost his bid for re-election. They were replaced by political newcomers Warren Harhay and Kiernan McManus.
Even the Boulder City Review hasn’t been immune to the flurry of changes that highlighted the year. In early 2017, our sole reporter left and was replaced by Celia Shortt Goodyear, who has embraced the small town along with its politics, activities and special residents who make the city a great place to call home. She has been working diligently to keep our readers informed.
Advertising sales executive Val Olsen, who officially started in late 2016, has truly made a difference as the year progressed. Her aim is to provide that personal touch to help local businesses, as well as groups and organizations, tell their stories.
We also made changes to our office staff, with several comings and goings to our newly created office coordinator position. Just earlier this month, Angela Metcalf joined the team to handle subscriptions, classified ads and obituaries.
All of our changes were designed to make our office a one-stop shop and better serve the community.
Personally, there were also many changes in my life as I realized my kids are no longer children, but rather young adults who are ready to live their own lives.
As they began to spread their wings outside the nest, my husband and I re-examined our priorities and decided to focus our attention on enjoying the world outside the walls of our home. We bought a travel trailer and are planning a variety of adventures to explore places near and far.
It appears that next year change will continue to dominate as the city sorts out its leadership positions and as Interstate 11 nears completion, rerouting a majority of traffic between Las Vegas and Arizona around town.
Though a small segment of the interstate opened in August, the true impact of the changes it will bring won’t be felt until October 2018, when the second phase opens and cars are no long forced to drive through the middle of town on U.S. Highway 93.
Hopefully, wherever 2018 takes you and whatever changes come our way, we find life as good or better next Dec. 31.
Hali Bernstein Saylor is editor of the Boulder City Review. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 702-586-9523. Follow @HalisComment on Twitter.