Town administrator to retire in November

By Rudy Hemmann
The Surveyor

During an interview the morning of Jan. 12, Town Administrator Mike Hart officially announced he would retire when his contract with the town expires in November of this year.

Hart had made a comment during his staff report near the end of the Dec. 13, 2016, board meeting that his contract would be up for renewal in November 2017. At that time he suggested it was not too early for the trustees to begin the process of determining whether they wished to renegotiate a contract with him or if they wanted to go a different direction with a new town manager.

In the interview he stated he and his wife Sara had discussed their options for the future and they both decided to retire and do the traveling they has always talked about “before it was too late.”

Quoting Hart from a Jan. 6 memorandum to the board, he states, “This memo is to inform the board that on Nov. 30, 2017, I will be stepping down as the Town Administrator for Berthoud.”

He went on to write, “This was a difficult decision for me, because I truly love what I am doing, and I am very grateful for having had the opportunity to work with the staff in Berthoud in providing service to the community. Berthoud has excellent personnel, and each and every one of them work very hard to make Berthoud one of the very best communities in the front-range in which to live and raise families.”

“We have approximately 11 months left prior to Nov. 30, which should be adequate time for the board to begin the process of finding a replacement. I plan to remain on the job through Nov. 30, and will help in any way that I can with the process of finding another manager for Berthoud.”

Former Mayor David Gregg had this to say about Hart retiring:

“There are not enough positive words I can apply to Mike and what he has meant to the Town of Berthoud … He genuinely loves our community and wants to see it healthy and vibrant. He is at his best when in the midst of high-level negotiations, with Berthoud as client and with her best interests in mind. We’ve acquired well over 400 acres of open space and park land while under his watch, often as a result of his dogged and ingenious negotiations. My respect for Mike is tremendous, we’ve been enormously blessed by his service. Berthoud is a healthier and better place because of him. I’m blessed to have been able to serve as mayor under his watch and tutelage and I consider him a good friend. Unfortunately, my simple words do not adequately convey the benefits that Berthoud enjoys from Mike’s tenure in service to our community.”

Current Mayor Steve Mulvihill stated, “Mike Hart’s recent announcement that he will be retiring at the end of this year is bitter sweet. I am very happy for Mike and his family and his desire to spend more time with the family in the years ahead. I am sorry Mike will leave us after such a long and distinguished time as town administrator. Mike’s dedication and understanding of the needs of the town and his ability to bring the town from a desperate financial position to financial stability is admirable. Additionally, his understanding of the water situation and the utility infrastructure has enabled the town to move to a much-improved and stable situation. Mike’s dedication and tireless efforts to better the Town of Berthoud will be realized in years to come. I wish him all the best in the future and I sincerely appreciate all he has done for the people of Berthoud.”

Current Mayor Pro-tem Chris Buckridge stated:

“There are three things that immediately come to mind when asked about Mike.

First, the incredible amount of knowledge and experience Mike has. His understanding of the players, the history, and all of the varied pieces of the puzzle that need to fit together to make Berthoud a success is amazing.

Second, Mike’s approachability. He is always willing to make time for any issue, whether from the board, staff, or the public.

Third, Mike’s dedication to the success of Berthoud. His long-term vision, which included putting together the town’s skilled, hardworking and dedicated staff, has us set up beautifully for handling the coming challenges facing our community.

We will be losing not just a highly skilled administrator, but a truly dedicated visionary who has brought us to the edge of the unique prosperity that only Berthoud can attain.

I would like him to stay with us, but I wish him nothing but the best in his well-deserved retirement.”

Former town trustee and current executive director of Berthoud Habitat for Humanity, Jan Dowker stated:

“Mike Hart has been a key decision-maker in bringing Berthoud to the successful economic outlook we now have, unlike even five years ago, when in 2011 I was first appointed to the town board. When I ran for trustee in 2012, it was with confidence in knowing I would be working with a manager that understood the complexity of town government, from working to develop a brighter economic outlook, to managing the town’s public works. The nuances of running a town with an elected board of trustees and mayor is much like walking a tight rope. Understanding the complexity of ensuring a well-managed town while trying to make the majority of the citizens content is not for the slight of heart.

Mike’s heart and conviction for building a better Berthoud, a sustainable community, is without a doubt one of the biggest reasons I will miss his leadership. He is not a politician. He is a doer that doesn’t suffer foolish spending or idle chatter. His work with the water and wastewater plant, the major overhaul of our development code to declutter and reduce the complexity of our prior code, the economic development that he’s been nurturing over his tenure in our town, and the major kudos of getting DOLA funding for a wastewater treatment plant at Interstate 25 and Highway 56 – along with getting the quadrant of that area back from Johnstown; these are in large part due to the ingenuity and work ethic of a manager that doesn’t know the word ‘quit.’ He has been in the trenches with us, seeing us through a change in law enforcement providers that nearly split the town apart – and we’re the better for it. Because now we are Berthoud-strong.

Mike will be missed dearly, and while I wish him the very best, I wish he were not leaving.”