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Noted: Laura Neumann named Bach's chief of staff


Bach adds new chief of staff

Mayor Steve Bach announced sweeping changes to city government Wednesday, starting with Laura Neumann, a businesswoman with 24 years of experience in hotel, resort and conference center finances, becoming his new chief of staff, replacing interim chief Steve Cox.

Neumann, most recently vice president and general manager of Cheyenne Mountain Resort, will start Jan. 1. She will oversee city staff and serve on the mayor's executive team.

Cox will not return to his previous post as fire chief, instead, filling a new position as chief of economic vitality and innovation. Cox will head city efforts for job creation and change within government. Cox will also be vice chair of the mayor's executive team. Interim Fire Chief Richard Brown will stay in his position permanently. Brown has worked his way up since being hired as a Springs firefighter in 1980.

Nancy Johnson, former assistant city manager and current director of Parks, Planning, and Public Works, will now be deputy chief of staff and parks director. She will report to Neumann.

"The staff appointments announced today are positive and forward moving actions that put into place the next leadership steps to improve our City," Bach said in a statement. "Each of these individuals is an exceptional leader and well qualified to tackle the important challenges and opportunities before us."

Bach also announced three new "solution teams" — volunteer-led efforts meant to look for creative and budget-conscious upgrades to services and areas of the city. Retired businessman Robert Shonkwiler will lead a transit team, general contractor Chuck Murphy will head a downtown team, and former Vice Mayor Richard Skorman will lead a parks team. — JAS

Anchor away from KOAA

Georgiann Lymberopoulos has announced she'll leave KOAA Channel 5 to spend more time with her year-old twin daughters. She's been with Channel 5 for 17 years, as morning anchor for the past 15, when the local NBC affiliate began the program.

Jennifer Horbelt of WPSD in Paducah, Ky., has been hired as her replacement and will begin anchoring News 5 Today on Monday, Dec. 19.

At KRDO NewsChannel 13, the ABC affiliate, 15-year reporter Tak Landrock said on Facebook he's accepted a job at KMGH-Channel 7 in Denver as an investigative producer, leaving next week. — PZ

Curator leaves FAC

Tariana Navas-Nieves, curator of such shows as Emilio Lobato: Mi Linda Soledad (My Beautiful Solitude), left the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center a couple weeks ago and is now working in Denver.

Navas-Nieves had a complicated relationship with the FAC when Blake Milteer was appointed museum director and she was dropped to part-time. She felt FAC president and CEO Sam Gappmayer had discriminated against her, and filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. After an EEOC mediation failed, the agency was to investigate the FAC; neither Gappmayer nor Navas-Nieves will comment on the current state of the investigation.

The position she leaves is curator of Hispanic and Native American art. For the short term, Gappmayer says the FAC will hire guest curators in her absence. — EA

Jailers want body scanner

Saying that sometimes jailers miss drugs concealed on people being admitted to the jail, Bureau Chief Paula Presley says the El Paso County Sheriff's Office needs a $210,150 SecurPASS machine.

Commissioners are expected Thursday, Dec. 8, to approve the purchase under a sole-source contract with MAS Security Solutions of Illinois. Presley says the apparatus can detect items hidden in body orifices.

"SecurPASS provides a complete view of the body both externally and internally even through layers of clothing such as jackets, shirts, socks, boots, etc.," Presley wrote in a letter to county procurement, adding that the machine also has a feature that prevents jailers from seeing "soft tissue (read: secondary sex features) to protect the privacy of those being screened."

Presley says the machine actually protects incoming inmates' privacy: "When people go through this, we won't be required to do strip searches, so it is less intrusive." — PZ

Stephens may face two rivals

Retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Gar Graham announced Tuesday that he's targeting Colorado House Majority Leader Amy Stephens in a primary bid.

Stephens, of Monument, could wind up in either District 19 or her current District 20, depending on the outcome of current reapportionment efforts. But as Graham noted in his release, "Every map considered by the Reapportionment Commission and the courts places the two candidates in the same State House district."

In making his case against Stephens, Graham cited Stephens' bill "establishing Obamacare implementation in Colorado, the numerous bills she has co-sponsored with Democrats, and leadership's unwillingness to fight for conservative values and meaningful reforms."

Graham's release ignored third-term Rep. Marsha Looper of Calhan. Looper currently sits in HD 19 and plans to vie for re-election even if Stephens winds up in her district. Graham did not respond to messages from the Indy. — CH

Compiled by Edie Adelstein, Chet Hardin, J. Adrian Stanley and Pam Zubeck.

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