BOULDER, Colo. — Boulder’s first female and longest-serving city manager announced that she will retire on October 30.
“The time has come for me to step into the next journey in my life,” said Jane Brautigam. “I am, and always will be, proud of what all of us together have achieved for the city of Boulder. The lessons I have learned here, the ethics and integrity I have seen embodied in all that we have done, the innovation and creativity that has been part of our approach and the commitment to inclusive, effective local government will always be with me.”
For 12 years, Brautigam served as Boulder's top executive overseeing many significant projects and community-focused efforts, including recovery related to the 2013 flood and several wildfires, the adoption of new climate goals, the creation of a homelessness strategy and critical infrastructure improvements to water/wastewater facilities and recreational facilities, according to a news release from Boulder.
The news release added Brautigam also played a part in the city's revitalization of the civic area, design of a new north Boulder library and the adoption of key master plans, such as fire and open space and mountain parks, which will guide Boulder's future progress.
Under Brautigam's leadership, the city increased its general fund reserves to nearly 20 percent – a best practice, especially for local governments that rely heavily upon sales tax revenue.
Brautigam said of all her achievements she is most proud of her relentless commitment to creating financial stability for the organization. She saved the city money amid rising healthcare costs and championed a 2011 capital bond initiative and a subsequent community, culture and safety tax that allowed the city to maintain and begin improving critical infrastructure for the first time in years.
“Part of what I have loved about my job is the innovative, leading-edge work Boulder does around important issues. But, it is also critical to invest in the day-to-day operations and services the community needs and expects from us,” Brautigam said. “Stabilizing the budget for the long-term health of the city ensures this focus can continue, even when we are confronted with challenging economic conditions like the ones faced across our country today.”
Those who worked with Brautigam said the way in which she approached her work has been as important as her more visible accomplishments.
“Jane did not just lead the city with a steady hand,” said Mayor Sam Weaver. “She sought to transform the culture, bringing together discrete departments with a variety of important community service functions, under the umbrella of one forward-looking, continuously improving organization. She empowered leaders at all levels and took on challenging issues, including structural racism and historic oppression, with a combination of courage and humility that lifted up everyone working with her."
Weaver said Brautigam helped pilot the city through the necessary responses to the urgent crisis of COVID-19 and its unprecedented impacts on our community.
Brautigam said she plans to continue supporting the development of strong city and county managers as the next generation of leaders. She currently serves as the president of the International City/County Manager’s Association, and in 2020, she was honored by the Colorado City and County Manager’s Association as city manager of the year.
“I have so much confidence in the emerging leaders I see today and believe firmly in the power of local government to transform communities and make individuals’ lives better,” Brautigam said. “I am excited to be able to devote more time to cultivating the very best of my profession.”
Brautigam's retirement announcement is three months in advance of her departure and she plans to work with council and city leadership to ensure that the Boulder organization and community are supported -- including initiating a search for a new city manager within the next few weeks.
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