Mountain View Has a New Town Administrator

Mayor Emilie Mitcham

Mountain View is different! And not just due to our size. We are uniquely independent, creative, and determined – always forging our own path. This spirit has defined us from the beginning. 

Mountain View adopted a strong mayor-council government when it organized as a home rule municipality in 1972. (Although founded in 1904, our town’s Charter, essentially our Constitution, was not drafted until 1972.) This governance model served us well for many years. Our small size allowed us to navigate the dynamics of a mayor who also served as the town manager. Historically, the council took a hands-on approach to running the town, and the community collaborated to address town needs. For instance, when funds were needed to operate streetlights, residents agreed to pay an additional fee for them. Past Mayors typically balanced a regular, full-time job alongside their elected responsibilities.

With economic development and improved fiscal health, however, there is an increased responsibility to ensure future stability and provide more extensive, regular infrastructure maintenance and services. Mountain View property owners, residents and businesses rightfully deserve a full-time professional manager to administer the town.

Last year, approximately 50 mayors, me included, attended a Colorado Municipal League event to engage in discussions about our shared experiences. When the moderator asked how many of us had professional managers, I was one of only two mayors in the room without a professional manager to help. The reality is that this places Mountain View at a significant disadvantage. Professional managers possess expertise, resources, and the full-time capacity to support their municipalities. Mountain View deserves this too. 

After discussions with the council and a careful consideration of our options, Council and I agree that it is the right time to implement a more sophisticated and stable governance model in Mountain View. The council-manager governance model is a proven best practice, offering stability and professionalism.

As a first step, we’ve brought on board our new Town Administrator, John Beltrone. We can already count on him for the expertise and professionalism we deserve. And together, the Council and I will be sharing recommended Charter changes to help future generations of Mountain View thrive.

Below are some of the positive aspects this change can bring:

Efficiency and Expertise: In council-manager governments, the division between policy making and daily operations is clear. The elected mayor and council establish the town’s vision and priorities, while an experienced, non-partisan town manager executes them. This promotes efficiency and professionalism.

Political Neutrality: The council hires town managers based on qualifications and experience, not political alliances. This minimizes the influence of special interests and enables a focused approach to implementing the vision. This proves especially helpful in addressing issues that tend to become divisive and partisan.

Long-Term Planning: Unlike mayors with limited terms, municipal managers bring a long-term perspective. They can implement multi-year projects regardless of election cycles.

Enhanced Accountability: Under our current Charter provisions, the mayor collaborates with the town administrator daily. However, the council appoints the town administrator, who remains accountable to council in the long run. This setup establishes clear lines of responsibility and accountability for performance. While residents can still voice concerns directly to their elected representatives, the administrator takes on the responsibility of executing the practical aspects of running the town.

Introducing a professional manager to the Mountain View community in this broader capacity is a new venture for us. While previous mayors have involved professionals in more limited capacities, the transition to a full-time role is a significant change.

I firmly believe it’s the right thing to do, and I look forward to talking with each of you, as we move forward. This might sound like hyperbole, but I truly believe that requiring a professional town manager per our Charter is the single most impactful thing we can do to ensure Mountain View success for many years to come.

Embracing change can be difficult, and I welcome the conversations ahead. I hope you will join me, and other members of the Council, at the town events this month to discuss everything I have shared here. I know the Council is also looking forward to sharing the ambitious goals we are embarking on together. It is going to be an exciting year here in Mountain View. As always, I am honored to be a part of it and invite you to join us!

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