John Hall, Broomfield’s new deputy city and county manager on board, isn’t so much stepping into the shoes of retiring manager Kevin Standbridge so much as finding his place in the city manager’s office.
“We have to have an individual based on what we have right now,” City and County Manager Jennifer Hoffman said about the office, “which is different than five years ago. It’s different than two years ago.”
Standbridge’s last day in office is Nov. 20, although he will stay on in an advisory/consultant role through Jan. 13.
He participated in the interview process and “saw John as clearly the best candidate” who passed the first test of being a great fit with the organization.
Over the past few weeks he has been thrilled and said Hall has lived up to the team’s expectations.
“It’s just great to see and I really appreciate he’s here,” Standbridge said, adding the two will be spending a lot more time together during the transition.
Hall spent much of his life and working career in Oregon. He moved to Colorado in 2007 to pursue a position with the city of Westminster, where he was the Economic Development Director before coming to Broomfield.
Hall has 25 years of experience in community and economic development, land use and planning. His expertise includes leadership and management related to multiple facets of local government including large-scale redevelopment sites, affordable housing, strategic planning, innovation and sustainability, fiscal strategy, as well as business development and team building.
His first day in Broomfield was Oct. 7.
“So far its been great,” he said. “It’s interesting coming in during an election season — that adds just another layer of issues and discussion the community is having. It’s wonderful.”
Over the past few weeks he has been getting to know the city and county staff, including melding into the leadership team, going on tours and learning about projects and their status.
Hall said he has found a talented group of leaders at the city and county across multiple departments and subject areas.
“They’re extraordinary in every way,” he said. “I just hope to be able to continue to provide for them the resources they need to get the work done and really support them in every way possible to further goals and objectives of the city and county.”
On Oct. 29, council will go through the economic vitality matrix and sustainable community matrix, Hoffman said, which includes the shift of Planning and Zoning and bifurcating that group into a lands use review committee and a neighborhood board resolution committee.
Hall is coming at an opportune time, Hoffman said, and will be involved in the execution of plans once council discusses and establishes priorities.
He said he is excited about several Broomfield projects and initiatives, including the Broomfield Town Square, affordable housing, and the recently completed Broomfield Community Center.
“I think there are lots of wonderful things going on and it’s just a great time to be working in Broomfield,” Hall said.
Abby Yellman, meanwhile, who was hired as director of library services and cultural affairs in November 2016, became Director of People and Innovation, which included Human Resources and Communications and Engagement in July 2019. This July she was named assistant city and county manager.
Yellman has a Bachelor’s Degree in History with a minor in Political Science, a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Sciences. She has 16 years of experience in library and information sciences and seven years in a director role.
Broomfield had 175 people apply for the deputy city and county manager position, Hoffman said. After applicants were narrowed down to 12, 9, five and then the final two. Those applicants were invited to an employee forum and a community forum.
Feedback from the community was largely about fit, Hoffman said, including taking into account Broomfield’s unique position as a city and a county.
Hiring during COVID meant into account the technical skills, Hoffman said, while what people bring to the table “as a human being is equally if not more important,” not just with the management team, but across the board.
“When we were going on 16 days straight of 17 hour days, you have to like each other,” Hoffman said. “All of us are raw and feeling very exposed and we galvanized each other.”
Hoffman said professionally the city manager’s office is solid, but that personally “it’s a huge emotional and psychological adjustment, no doubt.”