by Nat Stein
Dave Munger will soon retire after leading the Council of Neighbors and Organizations (CONO) since 2007. CONO works to advise and connect around 900 neighborhoods in El Paso and Teller Counties on issues relating to local government, development and elections.
Under Munger’s leadership, the organization has really matured: CONO became a federally-recognized 501(c)3 nonprofit; grew its budget to six figures; hired four staff members; got a downtown office building at 309 S. Cascade Ave; completed two strategic plans; and launched the popular education series “Coffee and Civics” and “Civics on Tap.”
His retirement caps off a storied career. Munger spend 37 years in the professional world working in military intelligence, higher education, marketing and consulting before pivoting to community service. Then, for the past 13 years, in addition to serving as board president and executive director of CONO, Munger has also served on the board of Penrose Hospital, Ecumenical Social Ministries and the Board of Review and Advisory Board for the Regional Building Department.
He was active in planning for the redevelopment of South Academy Boulevard and North Nevada Avenue, as well as revising trucking routes throughout the city, extending funding for the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority and placing a ballot measure to establish a regional stormwater management authority (which didn't pass).
Currently, Munger serves on the search committee for the executive director of the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments (which is likely to conclude this fall), and the board of the Police Foundation of Colorado Springs and the board of the Fire Foundation of Colorado Springs (where he intends to stay until he’s no longer needed.)
CONO’s board has already put together a search committee to find Munger’s replacement. He says there’s been some discussion about who they’d like to apply, but the process is just getting started. Munger plans to stay on through the end of the year to aid a smooth transition for the incoming executive director.
With retirement now coming into focus, Munger tells the Indy he’s eager to spend time with his family, travel and write. Up first is a cruise trip in the Baltic sea, then an extended visit to Australia with his wife. “I feel like I’m retiring at the top of my game,” he says.
But Munger won’t disappear from civic life in Colorado Springs. He is, after all, a neighborhood man.
“I deeply believe neighborhoods are the building blocks of cities and counties and the basic units of democracy,” Munger wrote in his retirement announcement. “When neighborhoods operate well, they are where we learn to work together to accomplish mutual aspirations through consensus, cooperation, and compromise.”