John Leavitt, who was just hired to represent the El Paso County Clerk & Recorder's Office, previously worked for the City of Colorado Springs as a senior communications specialist.
Leavitt lost his job a year ago, along with Bill Beagle, when the city "eliminated two positions" in the communications department. At the time, the city claimed that the move was "part of the organization-wide efforts to pursue efficiencies wherever possible." However, the city quickly hired two new communications specialists to replace Beagle and Leavitt, and many felt their elimination was tied more to ideology than budget concerns.
Among media circles, Leavitt was known as a responsive and professional spokesperson, who strictly adhered to open records laws. In 2011, the Indy named Leavitt and Mary Scott (who has since left her job at the city) as the best public communications officers in its annual Best Of competition.
The city has struggled to meet open records laws since Mayor Steve Bach, a vocal critic of the media, took office. Recently, the city began charging for public records.
John Leavitt Named Public Information Officer for El Paso County Clerk & Recorder Wayne Williams
[March 4, 2013 — Colorado Springs, CO] — El Paso County Clerk and Recorder Wayne Williams today announced his office has hired John Leavitt, APR, as its new public information officer. Leavitt, a local public relations veteran, brings 19 years of government communications experience to the position.
“We are excited John has joined our team,” said Williams. “He will be charged with ensuring two-way communications to provide citizens with vital information from the Clerk and Recorder’s Office and to provide our management team with feedback from citizens for continuous improvement of our processes.”
Leavitt most recently served as a public relations consultant for Junior Achievement USA in Colorado Springs. Before that brief stop, Leavitt served in senior communications positions with The City of Colorado Springs, Memorial Hospital, Colorado Springs School District 11, and Colorado Springs Utilities. Leavitt was named the Best Government PIO in 2012 by one media outlet.
Leavitt said, “It is an honor to join a team charged with such important and fundamental tasks as election management, motor vehicle registration, issuing marriage licenses, and recording real estate transactions. Virtually every El Paso County citizen at some point does business with this office. It’s a tremendous responsibility to be charged with communicating for this organization.”
Williams said Leavitt was chosen from a deep and talented pool of applicants. His strong commitment to public access to information, existing relationships with local officials, and professional reputation with local media were among his strengths. “John’s long-time ownership of a small business [a local Sports Clips franchise] means he understands private enterprise and the struggles our citizens face,” noted Williams.
Leavitt lives in Colorado Springs with his wife, Susan. They are parents of six children and are expecting their first grandchild. Leavitt has a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations from Brigham Young University and a Masters of Public Administration from UCCS. He is accredited in public relations by the Public Relations Society of America and can therefore use the APR designation following his name.