City of Thornton, CO

City Manager

Location: City of Thornton, CO
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City Manager
City of Thornton, CO

About Thornton
Thornton is strategically located within the Denver metropolitan area, and is consistently ranked as one of the most desirable areas to live in the United States. Only ten miles north of downtown Denver and adjacent to Interstate 25, Thornton’s location provides high visibility for businesses and easy access to various transportation routes. 

The city’s location also provides an excellent environment for cultural, recreational, and outdoor enthusiasts. Thornton offers easy access to over 28 major resort areas found in the nearby Rocky Mountains, offering skiing, hiking, rafting, and camping, as well as beautiful and breathtaking scenic wonders — most within a two-hour drive. Thornton has growing cultural opportunities with a new arts center and community choirs and orchestras. Other cultural activities, such as museums, gardens, the opera and symphony, are readily available in Denver and other nearby communities such as Boulder, Fort Collins, Loveland, Greeley and Arvada. Professional sports teams, including the Denver Broncos, Colorado Rockies, Colorado Avalanche, Colorado Rapids and the Denver Nuggets, offer activities for the sports enthusiast. 

There are nine major universities and colleges located within a 45-mile radius of the community, including the Universities of Colorado at Boulder and Denver, University of Denver, Metropolitan State University of Denver, University of Northern Colorado, Colorado State University, Colorado School of Mines, and Regis University. Thornton is served by four school districts encompassing six high schools, four middle schools, 18 elementary schools, and 14 Charter schools. 

Thornton, Colorado, is a diverse community with a strong commitment to quality of life. Thornton has aggressively pursued recreation programs with over 2,000 acres of land developed or designated for public recreation. The city operates numerous lighted tennis courts, athletic fields, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, gymnasiums and senior citizens center, as well as a 79,000 square-foot recreational center that offers recreation opportunities for people of all ages and activity levels. Thornton also owns and operates a municipal 18-hole golf course. 

Thornton has experienced rapid growth, from about 60,000 population in 1994 to over 134,000 today. Ultimately, the city’s population is expected to be approximately 240,000. Much of the new residential construction in the city will be to the north of, and adjacent to, the existing development. Approximately two-thirds of the population is 44 years of age or younger, which is projected to decrease only slightly over the next 20 years, continuing a “family focus” in the city for many years to come. 

The city made it through the greatest economic downturn since the Great Depression without having any layoffs or unpaid furlough days. Revenues have consistently grown in the past few years and the 2016 General Fund revenues (unaudited) will end the year 5.5% higher than 2015. 

City Organization
Thornton is a home rule city operating under the Council- Manager form of government. Thornton City Council consists of the mayor, who is elected at large, and eight council members, two elected from each of the city’s four wards. The mayor and council members serve staggered four year terms. The City Manager, City Attorney, and Presiding Municipal Judge are appointed by, and serve at the pleasure of, the city council. While the city council is responsible for setting policy for the city of Thornton, the City Manager is in charge of the day-to-day operations of the city, including hiring and supervising city staff and also serves as the City’s Utilities Director. The directors of the city’s operating departments report directly to and serve at the pleasure of the City Manager. 

Mission, Core Values, and Implementation
The city of Thornton’s vision statement, mission statement, core values, and community outcomes were approved by the city council July 22, 2014. 

Our vision for Thornton in 2040 is a well-planned, self-sustaining community that:

  • Has diverse, identifiable neighborhoods in which our citizens feel safe and secure and which engender pride and a sense of belonging;
  • Provides access to a broad range of services to meet the needs of the community;
  • Has a transportation system that provides multi-modal opportunities for people to move safely through and within the city toward their destinations;
  • Provides for a healthy, high quality of life through its recreational, cultural, parks and open space, and community gathering places;
  • Actively engages its citizens, businesses, and educational communities to achieve the community’s goals;
  • Provides a stable, but diverse, economic base that attracts and retains a broad range of businesses, primary jobs, and an environment that is conducive to business growth; and
  • Values the environment and protects the resources it is entrusted with to oversee. 

Mission Statement
Our mission as a community is to serve as a catalyst to achieve our Vision by:

  • Being responsive to the physical and human requirements of its citizens through innovative leadership and planning, in partnership with the private sector;
  • Ensuring the availability of a broad range of services through public and private means; and
  • Efficiently and effectively utilizing available public and private resources.

Core Values
Core Values are those values that remain with an organization despite changes in time, staff, or other circumstances. We are committed to quality leadership for the benefit of our citizens. We will:

  • Be accountable and effective stewards of the public trust and resources;
  • Recognize that all individuals living and working in the community are essential resources for achieving the city’s vision, mission, and goals;
  • Seek out, encourage and develop future community leaders;
  • Encourage a spirit of cooperation, including intergovernmental interaction to deal with the mutual problems and challenges facing the community;
  • Be professional in our attitude and proficient in our tasks;
  • Expect and demonstrate courtesy and respect in all interactions;
  • Promote and participate in the exchange of ideas through open communications;
  • Display innovation and initiative in responding to current and future community needs; and
  • Commit to excellence in providing effective, efficient services to the community.

City Manager’s Office
The City Manager is appointed by and serves at the pleasure of, the city council. The City Manager’s Office includes professional and administrative support staff who coordinate management of municipal services based on the goals, principles and objectives established by the city council. Responsibilities of the City Manager’s Office include the implementation and execution of policies and objectives formulated by the city council, the development and recommendation of policy solutions to community problems, the planning and development of new programs to meet the future needs of the city, as well as development of the annual operating and capital budgets recommendation, long-range capital budgeting and planning for all funds, utility budgeting and capital planning. 

The City Manager guides the business of the city council through the development and coordination of the agenda process for the formal Council meetings, the Council planning sessions and other special meetings as needed to conduct the business of the city. 

The City Manager coordinates the development of the annual work plan, with a focus on meeting both current and future needs of the community and organization. In addition, the City Manager is the advisor to the mayor and city council regarding current and future needs of the community and the organization. 

The City Manager’s Office coordinates the State and Federal legislative activities; including, providing background information and policy recommendations with respect to proposed legislation and working with the city’s lobbyists to further Council’s policy direction. The City Manager’s Office also coordinates and provides policy support to city council members representing the city at various outside boards and commissions and participates in all intergovernmental activities and negotiations. 

In addition to these primary efforts within the City Manager’s Office, the City Manager also has the following general goals and objectives. 

Goals and Objectives

Goal 1: Ensure the proper management of city operations and public representation and involvement.

  • Objective 1: Actively involve our residents and the community in strategic planning and public policy initiatives by way of board and commissions, community partnerships, citizen surveys, public meetings and other methods.
  • Objective 2: City council and staff will maintain a positive and active role in the community through regularly held ward meetings, ice cream socials, youth programs and annual community events.

Goal 2: The city will maintain an organizational structure with well-qualified, highly trained and motivated employees, and encourage sound business practices that emphasize public trust, customer service, people, communication, and teamwork.

  • Objective 1: Provide quality, timely information and support to the city council, all boards and commissions, and all employees
  • Objective 2: Promote diversity among employees, while focusing on shared values.
  • Objective 3: Instill a set of values for the organization that are community and service oriented.
  • Objective 4: Continue to encourage and promote staff innovation and best practices through training and the development and implementation of innovative management practices.

Goal 3: Provide effective leadership and management through the implementation of policy directives of the city council.

  • Objective 1: Communicate and provide direction to staff regarding city council policy and other city council direction.
  • Objective 2: Coordinate administrative support of mayor and city council functions, boards and commissions appointments, and official visits.
  • Objective 3: Provide administrative support for council members and office functions, including citizen inquiries and complaints.

Community and City Issues
The city of Thornton operates on a two-year Work Plan, which is the strategic plan developed in partnership between the city council and staff. The current goals in the Work Plan include Urban Revitalization, Economic Development and Job Creation, Innovation and Conservation, Transit and Transportation, Advocacy, Community Facilities, and Ongoing Services. From those goals, the city council and staff identify objectives, actions, and benchmarks that serve to guide the work of the city in making progress toward the various goals. Examples of issues facing the community and the city that are reflected in the Work Plan include: 

Community Issues
Properly planning for growth. Thornton is growing fast. With its current population of 134,149 and its 6% annually growth rate, the city’s projected ultimate population is 240,000

  • Addressing community needs with respect to public safety and crime.
  • The need for ongoing reinvestment in older commercial and residential areas.
  • Attracting and retaining quality primary jobs for the community.
  • Addressing regional transportation and traffic challenges, including I-25 improvements and enhanced access to transit services.
  • Permitting, designing, and building a $400M water pipeline to deliver city-owned water from Northern Colorado to the community by the mid-2020’s.
  • On-going challenges of acquiring and protecting the city’s raw water supplies and delivery systems.
  • Construction of street and trail improvements around the four North Metro commuter rail stations which will serve Thornton. The North Metro rail line is being constructed by the Regional Transportation District connecting Denver to Thornton with an expected opening at the end of 2018.
  • Proposed placement of an Xcel Energy substation in a built-out residential neighborhood
  • How best to provide for affordable housing, including starter homes for low and moderate income residents, in the community.
  • How best to address the issues surrounding oil and gas development (fracking) in the northern area of the city given State law and State constitutional provisions.
  • Challenges of addressing the odor issues from the Northglenn Wastewater Treatment Plant and impact on growth and development near the Plant; concerns related to Northglenn’s future replacement of their aging sewer force-main that runs through Thornton. 

City and Departmental Issues
Recruiting, hiring, and training new police officers based on a Council-directed change in level of service.

  • Design and construction of a new public safety facility (Police Substation and Fire Station #6).
  • Planning for additional fire stations and expanded fire/emergency medical services.
  • Designing and building a new recreation center (Trail Winds) and senior center, as well as renovating the existing Margaret W. Carpenter Recreation Center.
  • Design and construction of major water and sewer utility projects, including a new water treatment plant, raw water reservoirs and pump stations, sewer lift stations, and sewer transmission lines.
  • Providing planning and development review services in a growing community.
  • Attracting economic investment, both in terms of primary employment and retail businesses, with a focus on reinvestment opportunities.
  • Providing high quality services for the community.

The City Manager
The City Manager is appointed by the city council on a contractual basis with the terms of employment outlined in the contract, the Charter, and the City Code. The City Manager serves at the pleasure of the council.

The ideal candidate will have extensive municipal experience. He or she will be a highly competent and effective manager. Experienced City Managers, Deputy and Assistant City Managers and/or other senior level public and private professionals with municipal experience are strongly encouraged to apply. Additional requirements are as follows:

Education, Certification and Experience
Minimum requirements include a Master’s degree in Public Administration or related field from an accredited college or university is required and 10 years’ experience managerial service in a municipality. Equivalent combinations of education and experience may be considered.


  • Highly skilled and poised communicator who is effective one- on-one and in public meetings that require clear, concise and objective responses to complex legal questions.
  • Competent manager of both issues and staff - capable of sustaining a respectful and productive work environment that inspires teamwork and positive results and values staff contributions.
  • Knows how to mentor and develop staff, respects budgetary parameters, attracts and retains top talent, with an appreciation for a diverse workforce.

Personality / Management Style

  • Independent thinker with creative problem-solving approach and an eye for detail; dedicated to public service; keeps the interests of the city at heart.
  • Self-starter, positive, appropriately assertive and proactive.
  • Strives to earn and maintain the mayor and city council’s trust and respect, yet willing to raise difficult issues when necessary.
  • Maintains very high ethical standards - a person of exceptional character who naturally earns the confidence and trust of others.
  • Politically astute without being political. Has experience working with local elected officials and does not resist difficult issues.
  • Knows when and how to effectively select and manage staff.
  • Can effectively communicate to city leaders the possible impacts of certain decisions on staff and financial resources.
  • Will be approachable and accessible to the mayor and all council members, as well as to his or her staff.

The compensation for the City Manager will be highly competitive including a fringe benefit package. The starting salary will be dependent on the selected individual’s qualifications and match with the desired attributes being sought by the city. The city will pay reasonable and customary moving expenses. The City Manager is required to live within the city limits. For more information about the city of Thornton visit

To Apply
To be considered for this position, please send your resume and cover letter with current salary to:
Reference: THORNTON

Affion Public
2120 Market Street, Suite 100
Camp Hill, PA 17011

*Deadline to receive resumes is April 28, 2017 

Applicants selected as finalists for this position will be subject to a criminal history/credit/driver’s license check prior to the interview. Under state legislation regarding access to public records, information from the resumes of the finalists may be subject to public disclosure. 

The city of Thornton is an Equal Opportunity Employer and values diversity at all levels of its workforce.