New Boulder County Administrator position announced
November 20, 2019
As of Jan. 14, 2020, the Board of the Boulder County Commissioners will be slotting in a new staff member between themselves and many county departments. The new county administrator role will be filled by Jana Petersen, the current head of Boulder County’s Administrative Services Department.
In a letter addressed to Boulder County employees dated Nov. 6, the three-member board of the Boulder County Commissioners stated, “After much discussion over the past year with our leadership staff and with the help of a team of organizational consultants, we have decided to move forward with an organizational change for Boulder County that will shift our county government structure in a direction that allows for more efficient management and continuity of day-to-day operations -- while giving us, the County Commissioners, more time to engage directly with the community.”
The county administrator will assume everyday operational management responsibilities allowing the commissioners to focus their time and effort on working with the public and additional involvement with county programs and initiatives. It will also give the board more bandwidth to maintain and build relationships with municipal, regional, and state partners. The commissioners cited that it was common for a county the size of Boulder’s to enlist a county administrator in its ranks.
The commissioners honed their candidate search in on existing department heads with solid institutional knowledge, a commitment to the county’s vision and values, and experience working with the county and its “diverse communities.”
“The position is a natural fit for Jana, who currently serves as Administrative Services Director for Boulder County and has worked in local government administration for both Boulder County and the City of Boulder since 1996,” the commissioners’ letter reads. “She has a thorough knowledge of county operations, heartfelt investment in the county’s vision and values, and a deep understanding of how our organization meets community needs.”
Petersen has a master’s degree in public administration from CU-Denver and has held the position of director of Boulder County’s Administrative Services Department since 2010. She has worked for Boulder County since 1999, first as the media information officer and later as the director of public affairs. From 2005 to 2010, she was the administrative deputy to the commissioners.
Commencing the new position in 2020 was deemed best, because it will give the commissioners sufficient time to transition Peterson into the role before the terms of commissioners Elise Jones and Deb Gardner,who are term limited, expire in 2021.
In addition to Petersen, County Attorney Ben Pearlman, Chief Financial Officer Ramona Farineau, and Staff Deputy Michelle Krezek, who will have the new job title of chief of staff, will continue to report in to the commissioners. Krezek’s new title conveys the responsibilities of tracking and managing policy work, community outreach, and external commissioner initiatives.
“For most of you,” the commissioners said in the letter to staff, “the change will not be felt or noticed as part of your day-to-day experience. The most significant organizational change is that department heads and other staff will now report to the county administrator instead of the Board of County Commissioners.”
Direct reports to Petersen will include the lead in each of these departments: Land Use, Transportation, Community Services, Administrative Services, Housing and Human Services, Parks and Open Space.