Boulder hires new planning director

·3 min read

May 18—Boulder has hired Brad Mueller to serve as its next Planning and Development Services director, filling one of several empty high-level positions within the city organization.

Mueller, who most recently served as the community development director in Greeley before taking a break during the pandemic, will begin June 6. He also worked in planning-related leadership roles in Weld and Douglas counties, according to a news release from the city.

"I am excited to welcome Brad to the city. He comes to us with a clear understanding of the balance that is required in achieving a community vision and administering the wide variety of regulations that exist in the planning world," City Manager Nuria Rivera-Vandermyde stated in the news release. "He has a reputation for superb and consistent support of staff and a commitment to stellar customer service, recognizing that the people experience is every bit as important as the process experience."

In his application, the new planning and development services director emphasized inclusive engagement as well as a willingness to find what he called "third way" solutions to complex issues, the city release states.

"I understand the important role the city of Boulder's Planning and Development Services department plays in this community," Mueller stated in the news release. "I am looking very forward to working with the incredibly talented and dedicated staff, City Council and the community itself to provide excellent service, responsiveness, innovation and expertise in this important aspect of public service."

Boulder's Planning and Development Services department is tasked with balancing the needs of the community, including applicants looking to develop property in the city, with other planning-related projects proposed by the City Council.

Meanwhile, the department is grappling with staffing shortages much like the rest of the city. Boulder's shortages span many departments, and it's particularly struggled to retain people in key leadership roles such as the one for which Mueller was hired.

The city is currently down a human resources director and a transportation and mobility director, among other positions.

Boulder has been without a permanent planning director since the end of 2021 when former director Jacob Lindsey left for a job in the private sector after serving in the role for a little more than a year.

According to his website, Lindsey returned to the southeast and is working as vice president for development with Lowe Real Estate.

Former Deputy City Attorney David Gehr, who retired last summer, returned to serve as the interim department director while Boulder went through the recruiting process.

Boulder formed the Planning and Development Services Department as part of a series of structural changes enacted by the city after a 2019 consultant's report determined there were morale issues among city Public Works and Planning staff. The report also identified relationship issues between staff, top managers and Boulder City Council.

In addition to his work in Greeley, Mueller once served as a sales manager and operations lead for Walt Disney World and also was a member of the Castle Rock Town Council from 2003 to 2005.

In terms of education, he has a master's degree in regional planning from Cornell University and a dual bachelor's degree in English and music from the University of Colorado Boulder.

He taught at the University of Northern Colorado and was a teaching assistant at Cornell.