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Boulder City Council unanimously agrees to hire Nuria Rivera-Vandermyde as next city manager

Rivera-Vandermyde will be Boulder's first Latina city manager


After indicating its intent to do so the day before, Boulder City Council on Tuesday unanimously agreed to hire Nuria Rivera-Vandermyde as Boulder’s next city manager.

Rivera-Vandermyde, a native Puerto Rican who currently serves as deputy city manager of Austin, Texas, is the first Latina and the second woman to serve in the role. Under the contract approved Tuesday, she will earn $290,000 a year and is scheduled to begin May 10.

Nuria Rivera-Vandermyde was appointed Tuesday night as Boulder’s next city manager and first Latina to occupy that position. She is currently deputy city manager in Austin, Texas. (Courtesy photo)

In Boulder’s council-manager form of government, the council-appointed city manager administers policies set by the elected City Council. Jane Brautigam, who for 12 years served as Boulder’s city manager, retired Oct. 30. Chris Meschuk has been serving as the interim city manager since then.

Boulder City Council was highly complimentary of Rivera-Vandermyde during Tuesday’s meeting, and several noted that feedback after a Feb. 25 community forum was overwhelmingly in her favor.

“We just feel that she will do a fabulous job,” Councilmember Mary Young said Tuesday.

“I think she’s going to make an extraordinary leader for the city,” Councilmember Aaron Brockett agreed.

Rivera-Vandermyde has been in her current position in Austin since 2019. Before that, she served as the director of Minneapolis’ Department of Regulatory Services before becoming the city coordinator there.

On her resume and in response to questions from Boulder residents during last month’s community meeting, she highlighted work in a number of areas, including homelessness, housing, transportation, racial equity and public safety, that align well with some of Boulder’s priorities.

In Austin, she worked to establish the city’s first Office of Civil Rights, led the city’s reimagining of public safety efforts and provided leadership to expand supportive housing through innovative motel conversion strategies in which the city set up three hotels as protective lodges.

Further, when she worked as city coordinator in Minneapolis, Rivera-Vandermyde helped move an encampment of about 376 primarily Indigenous people into a navigation center, which provides supportive services for those experiencing homelessness.

In her work with Minneapolis’ Department of Regulatory Services, she led and managed the city’s department of regulatory services, which included regulatory business lines such as Housing Inspection Services, Fire Inspection Services and Traffic Control. Part of that work included initiating new policy initiatives meant to preserve quality housing stock, increase landlord accountability and bridge gaps in rental housing.

When living in Puerto Rico, Rivera-Vandermyde worked for the Department of Corrections, which drew some critical questions during last month’s community forum.

While he doesn’t yet know her personally, Boulder Chamber President John Tayer said he’s excited to work with Rivera-Vandermyde.

“I’m very excited about (her) history of working in an urban environment and the effort to address similar challenges that we’re dealing with in terms of transportation and affordable housing,” Tayer said a few hours before Rivera-Vandermyde’s official confirmation.

Boulder resident Lynn Segal spoke about the city manager hire during open comment on Tuesday. While she did not have any specific complaints about Rivera-Vandermyde, Segal was displeased with the process.

The city on Feb. 19 announced two top finalists: Rivera-Vandermyde and Kevin Jackson, the deputy city manager in Long Beach, Calif. On Feb. 25, it conducted a public forum with both candidates, where people could ask questions and provide feedback.

Considering the last city manager stayed in Boulder for 12 years, Segal said she found it concerning that there wasn’t a more nuanced conversation ahead of the City Council hire.

“The city manager’s a really important person in our community.” she said.