Helen Migchelbrink's appointment wasn't the hot topic of Mayor Steve Bach's news conference today.
It was hard to compete with the news that the mayor has hired the well-connected Kyle Campbell as his interim director of planning. Campbell is the president elect of the Housing and Building Association of Colorado Springs and works for Classic Communities. The mayor, who previously worked as a commercial real estate broker, has a close relationship with the HBA.
Campbell will be paid handsomely for his services, $175 an hour, or $364,000 a year if he works full time. He will not be paid benefits. The previous planning director, Bill Healy, made $137,000 a year.
Campbell, notably, has no experience in the public sector, but has worked for over 20 years in the private sector as a planning and engineering consultant.
Chief of Staff Laura Neumann said that Campbell would be able to to give advice to the city based on "the outside looking in," and therefore was worth the money.
In other news, Migchelbrink will start May 15 and be paid $125,000, which is less than the maximum pay for the position.
Neumann also announced that Kathleen Krager, for several years a senior traffic engineer and one of the main wranglers of the PPRTA II ballot question, has been promoted to Transportation Manager. She received a raise from $98,000 annually to $112,000. In her new position, Krager will create and manage the city's transportation network.
Mayor announces three new appointments
At a media conference this morning, Mayor Steve Bach announced the appointment of a new Public Works Director, who will also serve as City Engineer. The Mayor also named a Transportation Manager and an Interim Planning Director.
“Colorado Springs is open for business with a commitment to providing a high level of service for existing and future residents and businesses who wish to expand or relocate their companies to Colorado Springs,” said Mayor Bach. “In order to further transform City government so it works for everyone, we are pleased to announce several appointees at the City:”
1) Helen Migchelbrink (mick-uhl-brink), Director of Public Works/ City Engineer -By combining two prior positions with one “very talented, experienced individual,” Colorado Springs will embark on a mission of consolidating and realigning staff to allow their talents to be applied more effectively by the many users of City resources. Helen brings with her extensive management and technical experience from Fort Collins and Vail Valley. She will be the catalyst in re-inventing government services and functions.
2) Kathleen Krager, Transportation Manager - Already recognized as one of the premiere transportation experts in the region and state, the City is pleased to promote Kathleen and expand her role. This change will put her extensive history and skill set to better use to create and manage the City's transportation network of facilities (both existing and future).
3) Kyle Campbell, Interim Director of Planning - With over 20 years of private sector experience as a planning/engineering consultant in Colorado Springs, Kyle will bring practical business experience to his 6 month contract efforts. He will work with Helen and Kathleen in transforming the publics’ experience with the City in the processing of plans and permits. As a strong believer in excellent customer service, Mr. Campbell will bring that mindset to the city as he evaluates procedures and processes with the ultimate goal of removing barriers to residents and businesses as they navigate complex government regulations.
Mayor Bach further noted that, “the hiring and promoting of these individuals is yet another step of reorganizing the structure of city government to further streamline processes and create greater efficiencies in the approvals of plans and permits. With the impending realignment of services and staff, it is this administration’s goal to create a productive work environment for both staff and users. It is important to note that a key goal of this initiative is to better empower our City employees to do their jobs with the least amount of red tape, to unleash their creativity and to recognize them as they excel. We will continue to work toward being the most business and citizen friendly city in the country.”
“With the hiring of Helen Migchelbrink and promotion of a proven resource/talent in Kathleen Krager, both teamed with Kyle Campbell, a top private industry executive, our Planning Department will ensure that we make Colorado Springs a city of choice for developers, whether they’re local or those wishing to relocate and do business with us, ” Mayor Bach stated.
——- ORIGINAL POST, MONDAY, 10:51 A.M. ——-
At yesterday's City Council meeting, Helen Migchelbrink was approved to be the city's next public works director in the oddest of ceremonies.
That approval seemingly came straight out of a James Bond movie.
First, Chief of Staff Laura Neumann described Migchelbrink's qualifications, but told Council that she couldn't utter the name of the sole finalist for the position until she was approved. Migchelbrink had requested anonymity, and didn't want her name out there until Council made the appointment official.
City Council President Pro Tem Jan Martin followed up by noting that she and Councilor Brandy Williams had interviewed the candidate. (The mayor only allowed two Councilors to meet the finalist beforehand, because he worried that news of the new public works director's identity might leak to the press.)
Martin said she and Williams approved of the mayor's choice. But when Martin moved to approve the appointment, Council President Scott Hente noted that Martin needed to name the candidate in order to make the approval legal.
Hente asked Neumann if naming Migchelbrink would be OK.
Neumann replied that if it was the only way to approve her, than she would consent to have the name released.
Less than a minute later, Migchelbrink was approved unanimously.
To be honest, the extreme caution and secrecy surrounding Migchelbrink's appointment raises more eyebrows then her actual hiring. We'll learn more about Migchelbrink in a few minutes at the mayor's press conference. But her resume suggests she's qualified.