John Scarffe, Nederland. Nederland Town Administrator Alisha Reis announced she will leave the position on March 3, 2017.
She will be the longest-serving Town Administrator in Nederland’s history, having served 6 ½ years when she steps down next spring.
Reis first made the announcement at a December 10 Town staff holiday party, she said in a Mountain-Ear interview on December 13. Reis said she let the Nederland Board of Trustees, to whom she reports, know that she was leaving on December 6 at her annual performance review. She wanted to announce it to staff before it became public, and she was asked to release the information to the public soon.
A news release about her resignation was issued on December 13. Reis knew that the Board would need a couple of months to recruit the next person and should release the job announcement in the first of January.
Reis started thinking about resigning when her daughter was going into her senior year and graduating from high school in May 2017. She realized it would be her daughter’s last year in school, and she wouldn’t have a lot of opportunity to hang out with her after this.
Reis earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism and political science from Metropolitan State University and a master’s degree in politics and public policy in 2008 from the University of Colorado-Denver, Reis said. Prior to work in local government, she was in journalism for ten years.
Before coming to Nederland, Reis specialized in land use planning and communications in Monte Vista before moving up to assistant city manager there. She stayed there for five years and also headed up the department for community development.
Reis said she came to Nederland on September 6, 2010, the day of the Four Mile Fire. She was supposed to start the next day, so she met the police chief at the time and asked him to take her around.
Reis was sworn in during a community meeting about the fire the next day, she said. “That’s how I got started. From there I’ve been running ever since. This was never a lax job.”
According to the news release: “During Reis’ service to the community, the Town completed the new wastewater treatment plant, multiple infrastructure upgrades, the new Town Maintenance Shop and emergency response plans after such events as the Four Mile Fire, 2013 Floods and Cold Springs Fire.
“Town staff was roundly praised for their support of the incident command and sheltering efforts during the 2016 fire event. Town planning and building, and financial functions, also were stabilized during Reis’ administration.”
Reis said her greatest accomplishment has been helping the Town get on track with a strong and resilient infrastructure. In 2014, the Town won grant funds for an infrastructure plan to inform streets and sewers.
“You can’t have any quality of life until you have good bone,” Reis said. “The foundation of a community is infrastructure. A lot of municipalities want to work on new parks and recreational facilities, but if you don’t take care of roadways and water treatment plants, no amount of fun things will help.”
Reis also has stabilized the Town’s finances and set up the Town for long-term financial health. She said she is a fiscal conservative, and that has helped with annual and long term financial plans. The Town has a comprehensive plan that was updated and a financial plan to care for these thing to assure that the Town has the resources to keep up.
Reis said that Former Treasurer Eva Forberger gave her lots of help with Town finances. They reduced the debt load and increased a strong financial picture for the community.
Reis also created an accessible, friendly government, improving relations with the community it serves. “People feel comfortable coming to town hall,” Reis said. “We’re very open and we listen.”
Reis said she has put in long hours on the job. “Now I need to take a couple of months to relax and recharge and think about next steps. I need take time with the family who supported me all these years. It’s time to take a break.”
The Town’s Board is very cooperative and very progressive in how they want to work with the staff and community, Reis said. “Folks have no experience with this stuff. They come with their own backgrounds and what they hear folks telling them, and pulling those together can be really challenging.
“In the past less than progressive decisions have been made, but for every decision that was made, it got it us closer to where we are now. It made it better for the next time,” Reis said.
“I wouldn’t change things. It has all contributed to the great path we’re on and the really good foundations this Board has inherited. I have great confidence in them and the staff that they’ll move forward in a positive way.”
Mayor Kristopher Larsen said: “The Town has been so incredibly fortunate to have Alisha as our Town Administrator for the last six years. I can’t say enough about the professionalism she has brought to Town Hall or the leadership she’s shown during both day-to-day operations and during crises like the Cold Springs Fire. While I wish she could remain our Town Administrator for years to come, I couldn’t be happier for her and her family as they move forward.”
The process to identify a successor will begin in January 2017, with release of a job recruitment notice, according to the news release. The Board of Trustees will review and make any necessary adjustments to the job description before advertisement.
“The process will include public outreach during finalist considerations in late winter/early spring. Reis has agreed to support the recruitment and orientation effort, to ensure successful transition,” according to the release.
Reis said she and her family will remain in the community. “I have had the great pleasure of working with a talented, committed group of people at the Town of Nederland, in service to our beautiful community,” Reis said. “I look forward to seeing the community continue to move into a bright future.”