City Manager

City of Boulder, CO | Full-time


About the City Manager Position

The City Manager serves as the top executive officer of the City and reports to the Mayor and Council. The new City Manager provides comprehensive management and leadership to ensure all City services and infrastructure are delivered in an equitable, sustainable, and effective manner. This position supports the mission of the City Manager’s Office by championing an engaged, collaborative, and innovative organizational culture; providing professional leadership in the administration and execution of City policy as established by Council; and establishing relationships and partnerships to implement community priorities.

The City Manager develops short and long-term goals, plans, and measurements to implement the priorities and directives of the City Council. This position directs and oversees the strategic planning, development, and implementation of programs and services within financial constraints and in accordance with City Council priorities, policies, and regulations.

The City Manager actively engages with the Council, senior leadership, and front-line staff to review and evaluate organizational initiatives and facilitate strategies to proactively address issues, resolve problems, and promote organizational effectiveness. The City Manager leads and supports a diverse staff of passionate and talented employees in further developing an outstanding organizational culture that supports excellence, continuous improvement, and a high degree of customer service.

The City Manager effectively communicates and promotes City initiatives in cooperation with staff, projecting a kind, compassionate, and cooperative public image, and ensuring collaboration and strong customer service to the community at all times. In addition, the City Manager effectively represents the City, its programs, and projects in cooperation and collaboration with the Mayor and City Council.


  • Build strong, positive relationships with the City Council, Executive Leadership Team, and broader City staff. Collectively work to understand our current organization, operations, and culture to effectively prioritize and cooperatively work towards achievable goals.
  • Develop an integrated strategy that fosters organizational alignment and consistency. Ensure finances and resources are aligned in order to prioritize our time, energy, and investments that lead to equitable outcomes and support the greatest impact on our community.
  • Continue to lead our COVID-19 response and economic recovery strategy centering on the needs of those most affected by the pandemic. Identify long term funding that provides essential and sustainable services and enables the community to adapt and thrive.
  • Cultivate greater collaboration and unity amongst the Executive Leadership team in support of our One City Approach. Build an environment of trust and cross-departmental cooperation, support open and reflective decision-making, and leverage the team’s collective knowledge and power to support our strategy and bring greater impact to City initiatives.
  • Align our talent strategy with our organizational strategy through focusing on equity and authentic inclusion to build a culture that reflects Boulder’s expressed values and service mission. Further recognize and prioritize the importance of the employee experience. Build on our human capital, champion employee development, and support a culture of opportunity for all employees.
  • Commit to advancing racial equity by ensuring our policies, programs, and practices are free from institutional and systemic racism. Support the City’s Racial Equity Plan as a living road map that prioritizes goals, specifies details, assigns resources, and measures progress to achieve meaningful change while further collaborating to ensure staff fully understand, appreciate, and demonstrate the values of our equity focus in their day to day work.
  • Work to meet the City’s clean energy and climate goals. Embrace the new partnership with Xcel Energy and take bold, innovative, and collaborative actions to create systemic change that fully addresses our climate change initiatives and ensures our quality of life.
  • Engage in meaningful dialogue regarding urban growth and development in our community. Encourage economic vitality that supports financial security, entrepreneurship, economic opportunity, and social mobility.
  • Facilitate continued conversations regarding housing affordability and our unhoused population. Collaborate to identify creative solutions, remain equitable in our planning, and consider compassionate policy changes that support diverse housing options and, more importantly, allow more people to call Boulder home while recognizing that we cannot solve a national problem with local resources.
  • Continue to build authentic community connections and engagement as the City evolves. Successfully engage those in our community who have been historically excluded, maintain a strong grounding in race, and utilize an equitable process to reshape and redesign our work and systems to meet the needs of our entire community. 

Inside the City of Boulder

The City of Boulder believes in a future with equitable access to health, safety, prosperity, and fulfillment. The community adapts and thrives in response to emerging and sometimes urgent social, economic, and environmental challenges. Through a collaborative effort, our City staff works tirelessly to address the pressing needs of our community including, but not limited to, housing, transportation, open space maintenance, unfunded capital needs, dedicated taxes, and other budgetary constraints related to COVID-19.

Boulder continuously works to provide service excellence for an inspired future. The Sustainability + Resilience Framework guides budget and planning processes by providing consistent goals necessary to achieve the City’s vision of a great community and the actions required to achieve them. Boulder cultivates a creative spirit in order to adapt and thrive in the changing climate.

With a focus on continuous improvement and transformation, Boulder continues to drive strategies in five core areas:

  • Our Community as Resource: Seeking new solutions to the most pressing community challenges through new mechanisms for direct engagement with highly talented community members.
  • High-Performance Government: Using process-driven continuous improvement to measure and manage performance and better serve the community, as well as building and managing tools that improve transparency and accountability.
  • Data-driven Decision Making: Understanding, collaborating with, and leveraging assets for effective program outcomes and equitable policy decisions.
  • Operational Efficiency: Mirroring innovative policies with shared, efficient, and transparent internal operations practices.
  • A Culture of Innovation: Seeking value-added changes, creative thinking, and collaboration, and engaging highly talented staff in problem-solving for the benefit of the entire community.

Workplace Culture

The City of Boulder believes that a diverse workforce adds quality and perspective to the services provided to the public. Therefore, the organization intentionally strives to develop and maintain a diverse workforce that values, is sensitive to and celebrates the differences among employees.

An important component of the City’s culture and environment is Boulder’s Leadership Philosophy – We believe each of us is a leader. We are motivated by the opportunities to make a positive difference for our community. Our greatest results are achieved when we:

  • Create a respectful, trusting, and supportive environment
  • Rely on, invest in, and celebrate each other’s perspectives, skills, talents, and accomplishments
  • Consult and collaborate with each other to make timely and quality decisions
  • Share responsibility for and learn from the process and outcomes of a creative culture

Structure of Local Government

The City of Boulder has a council-manager form of government where the elected City Council sets policies, and the Council-appointed City Manager administers them. The City Council consists of nine members, including a mayor and mayor pro tem selected by the Council members. Council members are elected at large and may serve up to three terms. 

The 2021 total Proposed Budget is $341.1 million, representing a 7.7% decrease over the adopted 2020 budget of $369.7 million. The City of Boulder is served by approximately 1400 standard employees, and robust City services are provided through numerous departments and divisions.


Ideally, ten years of progressively responsible experience in municipal government, including at least seven years of administrative or leadership responsibility. A successful track record as a City Manager or Deputy City Manager with prior experience in a full-service city is required. Strong managerial experience and the ability to work closely with the City Council is essential. A Bachelor’s degree in Public Administration, Political Science, or related field or an equivalent combination of education and experience that enable success as the City Manager is essential. A Master’s degree in Public Administration or a related field is desired. The City Manager is required to reside within the City of Boulder.

Desired Qualities and Experience

  • Strong emotional intelligence
  • Direct experience working in a growing, diverse community
  • A compassionate leader who is willing to listen to and learn from colleagues at all levels of the organization
  • A deep commitment to racial equity, along with demonstrated experience supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion work
  • A background in social justice
  • Ability to engage in meaningful collaborations with social service partners
  • Exceptional financial background with a strong commitment to financial sustainability
  • Knowledge of housing, development, planning, and economic vitality
  • Prioritizes sustainability and environmental stewardship
  • Strong ability to develop effective partnerships
  • Knowledge of organizational development
  • Prior experience driving change and transformation
  • Leverages best practices with an eye towards efficiency
  • Embraces technology and utilizes data and analytics to drive decisions

The Successful Candidate

The new City Manager is a strategic thinker who easily sees the big picture and long-term vision for the City. The successful candidate represents Boulder with humility, integrity, and effectively advocates for high quality, sustainable services. The City Manager is a forward-thinking leader with an open mind and eye towards addressing high priority community needs. The ideal candidate supports sound decisions while maintaining the flexibility to meet the changing needs of our community. 

Deeply valuing honesty and transparency, the successful candidate brings highly developed communication skills and navigates political relationships with ease. The City Manager has a strong history of developing collaborative relationships with elected officials and effortlessly partners with the Mayor and City Council to provide sound advice, guidance, and information. The preferred candidate maintains objectivity and brings forward strong executive leadership skills necessary for managing a complex, changing environment. Furthermore, the ideal candidate is confident yet humble and reflective, with a willingness to respectfully push back on the City Council and community as needed.

The City Manager has a strong background in strategic planning and execution and understands the importance of creating a vision while maintaining excellence in our programs, services, and daily operations. The successful candidate brings proven expertise in change management and embraces the principles of a high performing organization. With a human-centered approach, the City Manager employs a leadership style that invites participation and gathers input, but, at the end of the day, is decisive and results-oriented. The City Manager recognizes the importance of following through on established goals and initiatives while hearing, balancing, and respecting a variety of views during the decision-making process.

The City Manager models behaviors expected throughout the organization by treating employees with dignity and respect and maintaining an open mind to diverse voices, thereby setting the tone for an equitable and inclusive culture built on trust and collaboration. Acting with humility and in service to others, the City Manager empowers employees and believes in growth, collaboration, and professional development while establishing clear expectations, and allowing employees to be responsible while being accountable. Considered genuine and authentic in their approach, the successful candidate has a strong background in leading and managing staff with empathy and compassion.

The ideal candidate develops positive relationships, values diversity of thought, and establishes a high level of trust in support of broad, citywide discussions. As a visible member of the community, the City Manager is an active listener who values honesty and integrity and believes in fostering mutual respect at all levels. The successful candidate believes in keeping the community well informed and embraces multiple methods of communication to routinely update the public on City services, goals, projects, and initiatives. Importantly, the City Manager maintains an understanding of the issues affecting Boulder and leverages that knowledge to drive decisions.

The Boulder, Colorado Community

Boulder, Colorado, is located just 30 minutes northwest of Denver, where the plains meet the Rocky Mountains. Tucked into a picturesque valley below the iconic Flatirons that were once home to the Native American tribes of the Arapahoe, Cheyenne, Ute, and other tribes, Boulder now has a population of approximately 108,000. The City is a great place to live, work, grow, and play.

Boulder is nationally recognized for its quality of life, thriving tech, research-based economy, and booming real estate market. Boulder is also one of the most educated metropolitan areas in the country. The local public schools are excellent, with Boulder Valley School District consistently ranking among the best in the state. In addition, Boulder is a hub of entrepreneurship, particularly for businesses that value the lifestyle rooted in a love of the outdoors, healthy living, and access to resources.

The University of Colorado at Boulder is currently one of the premier public research institutions in the United States and sits in the heart of Boulder. The University has a strong reputation and is especially known for its engineering and science programs, particularly Earth and Space sciences. There are 17 federally funded science laboratories in Boulder, including the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Appreciation and enjoyment of the natural environment have always been at the forefront of life in Boulder. The community has over 45,000 acres of preserved, protected, and maintained open space and mountain parks that form a green belt around the City. Boulder has over 300 miles of public hiking and biking trails, and its mountain parks and open spaces receive well over five million visitors a year. In addition, residents enjoy 1,800 acres of urban parkland and programming through numerous recreation centers and outdoor pools.

Boulder fosters an environment for artists and audiences to be innovative, experimental, creative, and expressive. The City has a large concentration of artists with more than 30 art galleries, four museums, a dozen movie and stage theaters, and a huge variety of cultural performances each year, including the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, Colorado Music Festival, and Chautauqua Summer Series.

Boulder is home to many local restaurants with chefs that are insistent about quality, innovation, and flavor. In addition, Boulder is consistently ranked as one of the nation’s healthiest places to live and is a mecca for natural and organic products. Farms, dairies, ranches, markets, and restaurants embrace the idea of local, seasonal, and artisanal food production and cooking. The Boulder Farmers Market is the largest outdoor market in the state, providing a venue for local agricultural producers to sell their products directly to the public. For those who love beer, wine, and spirits, Boulder has 21 breweries, four distilleries, two wineries, and two cideries. 

While each of the characteristics, passions, and industries that Boulder is known for today emerged organically over time, it is how they work together that makes Boulder Boulder.

Compensation and Benefits

The City Manager contract is at the discretion of the City Council, with a hiring range of $275,000 - $295,000 and will depend on the qualifications of the successful candidate. Relocation assistance will be provided. The City of Boulder is a progressive organization that values employee engagement and well-being. The City recognizes the importance of providing an encompassing health and life benefits program to employees, including Telework, Flex Schedules, Telehealth and Wellness Incentives, Infants and Dogs at Work Program, and an Employee Discount Program on goods and services throughout the Boulder Community. Additional information can be viewed here.

To Be Considered

The City celebrates and supports differences across all spectrums, including but not limited to ethnicity, gender, age, disability, and sexuality. Add your voice and talents to the City of Boulder and help them grow in service excellence for an inspired future.

Applications will be accepted electronically by The Novak Consulting Group. Applicants complete a brief online form and are prompted to provide a cover letter and resume. Please apply no later than January 17, 2021.


Please direct questions to Heather Gantz at or 513-221-0500.

Download Recruitment Brochure