After a months-long search, Arvada has found its next city manager — and she’s been here all along. Lorie Gillis, Arvada’s deputy city manager since 2014, will take over from outgoing City Manager Marc Deven on Sept. 26, about a month after Deven retires on Oct. 7.
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Gillis was one of two finalists for the position, the other being Casper, Wyoming City Manager James “Carter” Napier. Gillis was chosen for the role at a city council executive session on Aug. 8, where she received unanimous support from council, according to Arvada Mayor Marc Williams. The selection was announced on Aug. 9.
Gillis is the first female city manager in Arvada’s history. Prior joining the city team, she worked for the Jefferson County Public School District as the district’s chief financial officer from 2004 to 2014 and the executive director of budget management and development from 2002 to 2004.
Prior to her tenure at JeffCo Public Schools, Gillis worked in finance and administration for the City of Golden. She completed her Bachelor's degreee and subsequent Master's at Colorado State University and was awarded a certificate from Harvard University after that.
“I am honored to have the opportunity to be appointed Arvada City Manager,” Gillis said. “I look forward to leading the incredible City team, engaging with residents and serving the Arvada community.”
Williams said he felt that Deven — who announced his retirement on Feb. 15 after 11 years with the city — had adequately primed Gillis to take on the role.
“I think Mark Deven did a great job of positioning Lori to be able to take on this challenge,” Williams said. “He’s put her up to some of the most difficult tasks for the city in terms of transit hub, single hauler trash service, Arvada Center transition to nonfit and she really excelled at each of them, she really passed with flying colors.”
Williams added that he felt that Lori would be able to acclimate to the role more quickly than an outsider would have.
“From my perspective, she’s able to hit the ground running much more quickly,” Williams said. “She doesn’t have the learning curve that an outside candidate would have. Sometimes you get fresh eyes with an outside candidate, we didn’t think we needed those fresh eyes at this time.”
Possibly in preparation for the change, former Arvada Human Resources Director Linda Haley was named the second deputy city manager on March 14.
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