We were glad to learn that City Council chose Penny Culbreth-Graft as our new city manager, replacing the recently retired Lorne Kramer. We particularly congratulate council on breaking the “glass ceiling” by appointing a woman to the city’s highest post.
Culbreth-Graft’s resume is exceptionally impressive. Since 2004, she has been city administrator for Huntington Beach, Calif. Previously, she was the assistant city manager for Riverside, San Diego and Tucson.
We hope that her broad experience in other rapidly growing Western cities will serve her well in her new position.
Like San Diego, Tucson and Huntington Beach, Colorado Springs must deal with multiple overlapping problems and opportunities if it is to grow and prosper.
As the municipal government grows larger and more complex, and as its responsibilities become proportionately greater, Culbreth-Graft must match revenue to expenditures. In the face of a slowing local and national economy, and stagnant tax revenue, that will not be an easy task.
Even more importantly, she needs to take the lead in rebuilding our relationship with Pueblo, which now seems to consist of name calling and lawsuits.
Nothing is more important to the future of this community than the successful completion of the Southern Delivery System, and the actions of some of our elected and appointed officials have hardly served to advance the water pipeline project.
Historically, Colorado Springs has been able to build water diversion projects only by working cooperatively with other affected jurisdictions. We trust that Culbreth-Graft will no longer rely on the lawyers and attack dogs that have brought us to the present impasse.
And we also hope that she will recognize the strengths of this community.
Ours is a city with a competent, honest and frugal municipal government, with growing cultural resources, a spectacular parks system and an engaged, charitable population. We’ve been fortunate to have individuals such as George Fellows and Lorne Kramer serve as city managers, and the city has benefited from their wise leadership.
Finally, we hope that Culbreth-Graft will put an end to policies of secrecy, evasiveness, and back-channel dealings that have characterized media-city relationships of late. Such policies, stated or not, are unworthy of Colorado Springs.