City of Boulder staffers unsettled by current leadership

The City of Boulder lost three key and talented staff members from its Public Works Department in the last year due to resignations.  Why so many resignations in the last year?  Check out this piece in the Daily Camera: Boulder planning, public works staffers unsettled by city leadership; transformations necessary.  Here is an excerpt:

 

Many Boulder city employees are unsettled by their current work environments, a newly completed city-commissioned report shows.

Specifically, Boulder Public Works and Planning and Development Services staffers this year raised serious qualms with how they are managed by top department officials and city council, according to the report. Those employees comprise about 25% of the city’s total staff.

At least one city councilmember has acknowledged city council’s role in contributing to some of the issues raised.

. . .

Mayor Suzanne Jones acknowledged the report shows evidence of council being too harsh and confusing staff.

“I think we hire the best and brightest staff and clearly we need to do more to set them up for success,” Jones said. “I think the turnover in senior staff creates a good opportunity to look afresh at the organizational structure at these departments and to be more responsive to the concerns staff are raising and create a structure that is more efficient and has more clarity.”

. . .

“The buck stops with the city council,” Jones said. “It’s up to us to take ownership for the decisions that we make and take the heat for them, rather than having staff bear the brunt of the polarized public discourse on tough issues. Especially around growth and development. We should take the heat, not have staff shield us.”

 

When you fail to keep committed, longtime employees, you lose institutional memory.  This is especially problematic in departments like Planning and Public Works where people work on projects like South Boulder Creek flood mitigation that take years to complete.  To change the culture on Council please vote for candidates who support good governance and staff retention.   Click through to read the whole Daily Camera article.

 

 

 

The Boulder Beat

Shay Castle of The Boulder Beat

Shay Castle, who did a great job covering City Council for the Daily Camera in 2018, began a new venture earlier this year.  It’s a local news blog called The Boulder Beat.  Check out her latest piece about flood mitigation for South Boulder Creek, Boulder could have flood mitigation options on CU South by year’s end.

The Boulder Beat, funded by readers, is is a valuable addition to our local news landscape.  Check it out and support Shay if you like to see her continue to cover Council and other local news.

WRAB’s Ted Rose speaks out

Ted Rose, a citizen volunteer who serves on Boulder’s Water Resources Advisory Board has spoken out about Council’s recent 6-3 vote to approve a flood mitigation plan that ignored his board’s expert recommendation.

You would think a problem of this magnitude would have the concerted attention of our City Council. But you’d be wrong. I’m a member of the Water Resources Advisory Board, a volunteer board appointed by Council to review the city’s utility plans, including its flood planning. The Board’s composition is impressive: two accomplished water lawyers, two distinguished scientists, and me, an entrepreneur who founded and runs a small hydro business in town.

In our year-end letter to Council, my Board wrote Council that we were concerned about our current trajectory, which leaves Boulderites and their property at great risk. We asked Council to meet with our Board to discuss an upcoming comprehensive flood plan review, so they could tackle important policy issues head-on.

Councilwoman Lisa Morzel, assigned to summarize our letter to Council at a recent retreat, skipped over the substantive issues and concluded the real news here was our volunteer board. She told Council members that the WRAB was “not happy” and mentioned multiple times that its members must have forgotten WRAB was established as an advisory board, not a decision-making body. Without discussing any of our points, Council moved on to discuss trash in public parks.

Meanwhile, two of the City’s most talented engineers have left Boulder’s water utility in the last few months and the comprehensive flood plan has been pushed off to next year due to the staffing shortfall. Boulderites are still paying for those flood studies, however, even though we have no way to implement all of their recommendations until the 22nd century. Meanwhile, residents in Frasier Meadows and elsewhere remain days away from a life-threatening flood event.

Click through to read the full editorial, Flood protection policy in Boulder is adrift.

Flood Preparedness Meeting, Monday July 9th

Do you have a safety plan in place for when our neighborhood floods?  In many parts of the City, when there’s an official flood warning the instruction is to move uphill.  For those of in and near the Frasier Meadows neighborhood in Southeast Boulder, that may not be a realistic option due to road closures and individual mobility issues.

Join us at a Flood Preparedness Meeting next Monday, July 9th, 2018 to receive information about your specific flood situation from Boulder’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM).

Neighborhood Flood Preparedness Meeting

Monday, July 9th, 5:30 to 7:00 pm, presentation begins at 6:00

Meadows Branch Library

4800 Baseline Rd, Boulder, CO 80303

RSVP:  [email protected]

•   View maps that show the progression of what areas are likely to flood first in our neighborhood so you can get a better sense of what your best evacuation options are.

•  Understand how to “shelter in place” if you can’t evacuate safely.

•  Get feedback from City staff about what the best option for you and your family may be.

•  Receive background info and resources so you don’t lose sleep every time it rains.

Prepare, Respond, Mitigate, Recover graphic

Join us at a Flood Preparedness Meeting presented by Boulder’s Office of Emergency Management on Monday, July 9th, 2018

People wore orange t-shirts to support flood mitigation at last night’s joint OSBT/WRAB meeting

Flood mitigation supporters from Frasier Meadows Retirement Community wore orange t-shirts to support flood mitigation at last week’s joint OSBT/WRAB meeting in Boulder, Colorado, Monday, June 25th, 2018.

If you joined the cohort who wore orange t-shirts to support flood mitigation at last Monday’s Joint Board Meeting OSBT/WRAB, thank you! You made a difference by showing up whether you signed up to speak or not. If you couldn’t make it, no worries! More opportunities coming soon. Here’s a brief summary of what went down.

• The purpose of Monday’s meeting was for members of Boulder’s Open Space Board of Trustees (OSBT) and Water Resources Advisory Board (WRAB) to sit down together to hear staff’s updated proposals for flood mitigation on South Boulder Creek, ask questions, and have a joint discussion about next steps.

• Yay for the Orange Wave! Approximately three dozen people from Frasier Meadows Retirement Community and South Boulder Creek Action Group arrived wearing orange t-shirts which made a big, exuberant statement of unity and support for flood mitigation.

• On July 11, 2018: OSBT members will consider a motion to recommend any project concept variations they view as acceptable. Check out the concept variations for South Boulder Creek flood mitigation. Public testimony accepted at this meeting.

• Members of South Boulder Creek Action Group will ask OSBT members to accept as many of the proposed variants as they can.  We would like WRAB and City Council to be able to choose from the widest number of options available because we understand the political issues related to flood mitigation are complex and we value expediency.  (We want decision makers to be able to choose the most do-able option.)

• On July 16, 2018: WRAB will consider a motion to recommend a concept to move into the next steps of preliminary engineering. [WRAB may choose to rank its first choice, second choice, etc.] Public testimony accepted at this meeting.

• On August 7th, 2018: City Council will consider a motion to recommend a South Boulder Creek flood mitigation concept variation to move forward into the next steps of preliminary engineering and property owner negotiations.

We’ll be in touch again as each hearing date approaches. In the meantime, enjoy the 4th!

Three Public Hearings re: South Boulder Creek Flood Mitigation

Save these dates! The City has scheduled THREE public hearings re: South Boulder Creek Flood Mitigation at OSBT and WRAB this summer. The first is happening this Monday. Here are the details for all three.

Joint Board Meeting – Open Space Board of Trustees and Water Resources Advisory Board
June 25th, 2018, 6:00 pm
Municipal Services Center
5050 East Pearl Street, Boulder

OSBT Meeting with Public Hearing
July 11th, 2018, 6:00 pm
Council Chambers
1777 Broadway Boulder

WRAB Meeting with Public Hearing
July 16th, 2018, 6:00 pm
Municipal Services Center
5050 East Pearl Street, Boulder

Public comment about flood mitigation at South Boulder Creek will be taken at each of these meetings. Attend and speak! If you’re uncomfortable speaking attend to get information and support your neighbors who are.

See you there!

June 2018 Open House: South Boulder Creek Flood Mitigation

This Thursday, June 7th the City of Boulder’s Department of Public Works is hosting an open house about South Boulder Creek Flood Mitigation. View the new project design configurations! See results of the questionnaire that was available at the last open house. Comment on the evaluation criteria decision makers will use to choose a design.

June 2018 Open House South Boulder Creek Flood Mitigation
Thursday, June 7th, 2018. 5:30 to 7:30 pm
A presentation will begin at 5:45 pm
Millennium Harvest House
1345 28th Street, Boulder, Colorado

We wholeheartedly encourage you to attend this meeting and fill out a comment card while you’re there. Remind decision makers we are still at risk and ask them to prioritize expediency as they evaluate a number of options to protect us from flash flooding caused by South Boulder Creek overtopping U.S. 36.

Attend to make your voice heard!

Boulder City Council Endorsements 2017

The South Boulder Creek Action Group and the Resident Flood Protection Team at Frasier Meadows Retirement Community (FMRC) viewed this year’s Boulder City Council candidates through a single lens: flood mitigation for South Boulder Creek including the annexation of CU South. Which candidates will work to move the approved plan forward with all haste? And which candidates would likely slow progress down by requiring more studies and seemingly endless public process? Here are our Boulder City Council Endorsements for election year 2017.

The first four candidates listed below earned our wholehearted endorsement by demonstrating they understand our flood issue and are committed to solving it by facilitating cooperation between CU and the City of Boulder. The last two are candidates we consider “safe” for you to vote for. While they didn’t articulate their support for flood mitigation as clearly as the first four, we have heard enough from them to believe they will work for and not against our efforts to achieve berm construction at CU South in a timely way.

BILL RIGLER
“I fully support working with City staff to bring Phase I of the South Boulder Creek Flood Mitigation Project to a vote as quickly as possible, and without further delay,” said Rigler in response to a question about SBC flood mitigation we emailed to all candidates. Rigler is a soft spoken and thoughtful candidate with an interesting background in national politics, he has worked for Geraldine Ferraro and Al Gore. Vote for BILL RIGLER!

JAN BURTON
Burton is an incumbent candidate who earned our gratitude and support by clearly and unequivocally pointing out the urgent nature of our flood situation during City Council meetings in 2017. She voted YES to support the Comp Plan Amendment for CU South. We view her as a clear thinking candidate who has consistently had our backs. The Daily Camera endorsed Burton this week describing her as, “a highly-accomplished former Apple executive who has done her best to ground the council in reality.” Vote for JAN BURTON!

JILL ADLER GRANO
Grano impressed us with her strong grasp of our flood issue and her optimistic and empathetic persona. She has said that she looks “forward to supporting the City moving as quickly as possible toward annexation and flood mitigation if elected.” We agree with the Daily Camera’s endorsement which describes her as “one of the most appealing council candidate’s we’ve encountered.” Jill appears to be a problem solver who knows how to get stuff done. Vote for JILL ADLER GRANO!

ED BYRNE
“Correcting this situation should be one of the City’s highest priorities,” said Ed Byrne in response to a question about South Boulder Creek flood mitigation we emailed to all council candidates. We appreciated Byrne’s attention to and understanding of our flood issue at the candidates’ forum hosted by FMRC and agree 100% with the Daily Camera’s endorsement which describes him as “a pragmatic moderate.” He is the top pick of a number of us from SBC Action Group and the FMRC Resident Flood Protection Team. Vote for ED BYRNE!

We are also happy to recommend:

MARK MCINTYRE

ERIC BUDD

We DISCOURAGE you from voting for any candidate not listed above if your goal is to support flood mitigation in our neighborhood. If we didn’t mention a candidate it is because they either indicated support for approaches that would slow or halt the City’s plan to provide flood mitigation at CU South by requiring more studies and process, or they failed to speak meaningfully about the issue despite receiving our questions by email several days prior to a Council candidate forum hosted by FMRC residents. We based our recommendations on the candidates’ presentations at the forum and on firsthand interactions and meetings with the individual candidates.

Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan Passes Four-Body Review!

We are happy to share some good news with you! Updates to the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan including CU South recently passed a legislative process called four-body review. Four legislative bodies – City of Boulder Planning Board, City Council, Boulder County Planning Commission and Board of County Commissioners – all voted to approve amendments to Boulder’s long-range planning document. This will pave the way for flood mitigation to move forward.

It has been a very long road and we wanted to thank everyone for their efforts and perseverance! While these four affirmative votes will allow things to move forward, the City and CU still have work to do regarding annexation negotiations. I’m sure we’ll hear more about this as things begin to unfold. We know the City wants to hear from the public on what’s important to them in such an agreement with CU (e.g., flood mitigation, housing, transportation, etc.).

But, for now, let’s just give ourselves a chance to exhale. We have a lot to be proud of, not the least of which is the focused, rational and professional way in which we approached this issue with decision-making bodies and other members of the public. Kudos to everyone for a job extremely well done!

Here’s a link to watch the full meeting of Boulder County’s Board of Commissioners who voted last Wednesday, July 26th. And a clip of the final vote (from the POV of one of our members) below.