by Pam Zubeck
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.
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:
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.
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.