Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Lethbridge was recruited as public works director

Posted By on Wed, Jun 26, 2013 at 11:58 AM

Turns out, David Lethbridge, appointed by Mayor Steve Bach this week as interim public works director, was recruited for the job. He didn't apply, according to records supplied by the city yesterday in response to the Indy's open-records request.

David Lethbridge, Mayor Steve Bach, Laura Neumann, Dave Zelenok
  • Lethbridge will be in charge of traffic engineering, among other things.

In a June 20 e-mail to City Council and some staff members, Bach's chief of staff, Laura Neumann, said the applicants, of which there were 43, were "marginal," leading her to seek another option. Here's her e-mail:

Council  Members:
As  you  know  we  posted  our  open  Director  of  Public  Works  position  in  early  May and  received marginal  response  by  applicants.    However,  in  the  meantime,  I  have  been  meeting with  municipal colleagues  and  local  industry  professionals  to  offer  recommendations  to  me  for interim  or permanent  solutions  to  our  Director  of  Public  Works  position.
 
Needless  to  say,  when  Dave  Lethbridge’s  name  surfaced  a  possibility,  I  seized  on  the  opportunity and  met  with  him  to  discuss  our  priorities  and  challenges  and  his  level  of  interest.    Long  story short.    He’s  thrilled  by  the  opportunity  to  rejoin  our  City  Team  after  23+  years  of  service,  and  I  am equally  (if  not  more  so!)  thrilled  to  present  him  as  our  returning  Director  of  Public  Works  for  the City  of  Colorado  Springs;  seeking  formal  confirmation  at  Formal  Council  on  June  25,  2013.

Dave  and  I  will  work  on  a  formal  press  release  by  EOD  tomorrow  with  his  full  biography  available  to all  of  you  prior  to.    In  the  meantime  know  he  is  prepared  to  start  no  later  than  July  1;  with permission  to  support  the  County  in  his  recovery/stormwater  role  in  the  transition  for  the  next  30 days. I  offered  him  the  top  end  of  the  salary  grade  for  the  position;  at  $147K/annually. His  years of  service  will  be  reinstated  and  we  have  walked  through  all  the  tentacles  of  pension  ramifications.

There  are  less  than  a  dozen  City  employees  who  formally  know  I  have  been  speaking  to  Dave; although  I  do  recognize  the  grapevine  is  a  powerful  too.    So,  please  know  you  all  are  the  first  to know  of  our  official  offer  pending  formal  confirmation-­‐-­‐  beyond  Mayor’s  executive  team  and Human  Resources. Typically,  two  of  you  would  be  involved  in  the  panel  interview  process  had multiple  candidates  considered.   I  hope  you  are  thrilled  as  I  am!    A  formal  background  overview  on  Dave  to  follow  shortly.

Respectfully,

Laura  Neumann
Chief  of  Staff/Chief  Administrative  Officer

According to his resume, also obtained through an open-records request, Lethbridge obtained an associates degree in biblical studies and a bachelor's in pastoral ministries, both from Nazarene Bible College.

As we reported today, there's no indication that he has an engineering degree, or that he is a licensed engineer. Here's the criteria listed in the city's job posting:

Bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university with major coursework in civil engineering, public administration, business administration, or related field.

Eight to ten years of increasingly responsible full-time public works project management or civil engineering experience involving city or county public works projects including five years of management experience.

Registration as a Professional Engineer (PE) in Colorado or ability to obtain Colorado PE registration within six months of hire.

Lethbridge does list considerable college hours in engineering on his resume, thus:

* Civil Engineering, no degree, 1971-73, 48 semester hours, University of Massachusetts, Lowell (Formerly Lowell Institute of Technology);
* Civil Engineering 1980, 12 semester hours, UCCS

And then there's the endorsement from Dave Zelenok, who was with the city from 1990 to 2005 and worked with Lethbridge some years back when Zelenok was director of public works. He's now chief innovation officer/interim city manager/director of public works for the city of Centennial. He says via e-mail:

I know Dave very well. He's very personable, genuine and experienced.

When I was director, he worked in City Engineering and did an excellent job largely overseeing the city's system that imposes exactions on developers. I can say that he was able to obtain literally hundreds of millions of dollars in improvements to our street network and drainage system infrastructure. During my tenure and, thanks in large part to his efforts, we built over 400 miles of city streets in partnership with our developers. To put that in perspective, that's as many miles, for example, than we have in the entire City of Centennial (pop 102,000, 401 centerline miles).

Dave faces a number of major challenges, of course, including implementing the mayor's vision for the future of the department, managing hundreds of millions in RTA projects, attracting and retaining his technical staff (roughly 300 employees - from civil and traffic engineers to equipment operators driving the city's snow plows and patching potholes) and overseeing the flood mitigation work needed to protect the community from the Waldo Canyon - and now, Black Forest fires.

That work alone will require unprecedented major new investments in our stormwater system (probably approaching $1 Billion) to accommodate the current needs - and now, to accommodate the major increases in flows that largely begin in El Paso County but will affect safety of our community for decades.

He will certainly be a very, very busy guy.

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