BOULDER, CO — Jane Brautigam, Boulder’s first female city manager and the longest serving Boulder city manager in modern history, announced Monday that she will retire on Oct. 30.
“The time has come for me to step into the next journey in my life,” Brautigam said in a statement.
“I am, and always will be, proud of what all of us together have achieved for the City of Boulder. The lessons I have learned here, the ethics and integrity I have seen embodied in all that we have done, the innovation and creativity that has been part of our approach and the commitment to inclusive, effective local government will always be with me.”
Brautigam has served as city manager for 12 years, and has led many major projects. She oversaw recovery efforts after the 2103 flood and several wildfires; the creation of a homelessness strategy; critical infrastructure improvements to water, wastewater and recreational facilities; revitalization of the city’s Civic Area; and the design of a new North Boulder Library. She’s also overseen the adoption of the city’s Master Plans, such as Fire and Open Space and Mountain Parks, which will guide progress in Boulder for many years.
Under Brautigam’s leadership, the city increased its general fund reserves to nearly 20 percent. She “saved the city money amid rapidly rising healthcare costs and championed a 2011 capital bond initiative and a subsequent Community, Culture and Safety Tax that have allowed the city to maintain and begin improving critical infrastructure for the first time in years,” the city said in a news release.
“Part of what I have loved about my job is the innovative, leading-edge work Boulder does around important issues. But it is also critical to invest in the day-to-day operations and services the community needs and expects from us,” Brautigam’s statement read.
“Stabilizing the budget for the long-term health of the city ensures this focus can continue, even when we are confronted with challenging economic conditions like the ones faced across our country today.”
Mayor Sam Weaver said Brautigam “did not just lead the city with a steady hand.”
“She sought to transform the culture, bringing together discrete departments with a variety of important community service functions, under the umbrella of one forward-looking, continuously improving organization,” Weaver said in a statement.
“She empowered leaders at all levels and took on challenging issues, including structural racism and historic oppression, with a combination of courage and humility that lifted up everyone working with her. Closing out her inspirational career, Jane has helped pilot the city through the necessary responses to the urgent crisis of COVID-19 and its unprecedented impacts on our community.
“While I am sad to see Jane retire, I am grateful for the vibrant city organization she leaves as her legacy,” the mayor said.
Brautigam serves as the president of the International City/County Manager’s Association, and in 2020, she was honored by the Colorado City and County Manager’s Association as city manager of the year.
“I have so much confidence in the emerging leaders I see today and believe firmly in the power of local government to transform communities and make individuals’ lives better,” Brautigam’s statement read. “I am excited to be able to devote more time to cultivating the very best of my profession.”
Over the next three months, Brautigam said she plans to work with council and city leadership to ensure that the Boulder organization and community are supported. A search for the next city manager will begin within the next few weeks, the city said.
“There is no doubt the city manager is an important position,” she said.
“What I have tried to demonstrate, however, is that healthy, high-functioning local governments are supported by a team of leaders. I am confident our department directors and many others across the city who have embraced our core values and a spirit of continuous learning will serve Boulder well and support each other long after I am gone. I look forward to watching Boulder continue to shine.”