Former Colorado Springs Manager George Fellows ran the city for a record 19 years under five different mayors. He had a critical secret to his success. His wife of 58 years, Bert.
"The only one I trusted 100 percent was my spouse," Fellows said. "I could tell her anything and I knew it wouldn't come back from a different direction."
When Fellows took over as city manager in 1966, Colorado Springs had a population of 100,000 and a budget of about $6 million. When he retired in 1985, the city had a $100-million budget and 250,000 people. "I never had to change jobs to go to a bigger city like some do," Fellows said. "The city grew instead."
The politics of being the city manager -- and working with nine elected bosses -- makes things interesting, but never easy. In city government, as any government, Fellows notes, "when someone says, 'nothing leaves this room,' you can be sure it will."
Does Fellows have any friendly advice for the recently appointed Lorne Kramer, who was the city's police chief before becoming manager? As a matter of fact, he does:
Kramer should forget that he was ever the police chief, and let the new chief, Lou Velez, do his job.
He should also respect his mayor and City Council bosses; hire good people; be honest with the media; do what's right for the people.
And, know the job is never done.
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