Mayor Joe Gierlach’s Inaugural Speech

by admin on September 23, 2011

On September 20, 2011, the Nederland Board of Trustees approved former Mayor Pro Tem Joe Gierlach as Mayor, to serve the remainder of Mayor Sumaya Abu-Haidar’s term.  Prior to being sworn in, Mayor Gierlach delivered a speech, the complete text of which is below:

I have found that most people don’t pay attention to the Mayor Pro Tem unless something happens to the Mayor.

I am deeply saddened by Sumaya’s resignation. I was also saddened when trustee Keith Nowicki resigned three months ago in June and trustee Dallas Masters resigned a year and a half ago in November 2009 due to a “dysfunctional” town staff. Before that, it was trustee Scott Franklin. I came to know these people through town government and they have all been fundamental in the shaping of the government we have today. These people are our neighbors. They have spent countless hours planning what we will do if we get six feet of snow or the forest fire of 2012.

Tonight, I would like to map out what you can expect from this administration for the remainder of this term.

It is difficult for me to calculate the amount of time Dallas and Keith have spent studying our water rates much less, coming up with the formulas that these two scientists toss around. I have successfully pleaded with them to be on a Mayor’s task force to study water and sewer rates. They will be joined by Del Lynd and our treasurer, Eva, to come up with an easy to understand water rate structure that encourages conservation and is fair for all of our citizens. I will be asking our Board to proceed with this important task force later in Other Business tonight.

If you haven’t visited Town Hall since April, you will find that it is now quite inviting, thanks to the help of Dennis Duckett and former trustee Roger Cornell. Geneva and the Town Hall staff will welcome you and answer any question that you have. Or you can stop in and say Hi, or better yet say thank you.

We do have a new inquiry tracking system in place that tracks all complaints, issues and questions. The beauty of this system is that it doesn’t matter how or who you ask your question. Hypothetically, you can ask Dawn at the Community Center’s Fitness Place about your water bill. You could ask a police officer or a public works worker on a road crew about the Adopt-A-Park program or medical marijuana. You can e-mail, call Town Hall, or go to the newly revamped website. Even comments on the town’s Facebook page are tracked within about 20 minutes. All of these questions or issues get filtered to the correct person within Town Hall and you will get a response back in one day. You can also be placed on the town’s e-mail list or follow us on Twitter to get updates. We even have a copy of every Mountain Ear in the office. Our Town Administrator, Alisha Reis, and Town Clerk, Teresa Myers, have developed this system for our benefit. In addition, it saves the Town insurance premiums.

There is absolutely no need to be uncivil or make threats. My expectation is that you treat all of our town employees with respect. Many of our employees could obtain higher paying jobs, but they choose to work for our town. We are your neighbors. You see us at the post office. You ran with us in the Neder-Nederland and Joe Colton race. We were there with you at Ned Fest, Frozen Dead Guy Days, and the Fourth of July. We watch movies with you at the Backdoor Theater. The people at Town Hall are there to answer your questions, address issues, keep our families safe, and provide basic services to you. It would be foolish to harass your friends and neighbors who have chosen to help you. It is the role of each and every one of us to help our town employees succeed, because they are helping us. The Honorable Trustee Perrett told me last week that he has some leads, and if you have any information about threats to Town Hall, please contact him, or better yet, contact Town Hall.

Sumaya and the Honorable Trustee Marci Wheelock have been instrumental in keeping us on track and hiring our Town Clerk and transitioning to the new Town Administrator so that we all can benefit.

There are two types of projects – public and private. For private projects, we guarantee that citizens have a constitutional right to develop their own land as they see fit, as long as it meets federal building and local codes. There are very specific dates that we take public comment on private projects. If you care about these projects, it is your responsibility to be informed of those dates. As I’ve said before, it has never been easier to get this information from Town Hall, as long as you treat our employees with respect.

For public projects and events, these belong to all of us. All of us should be giving input and feedback.

I will now show you an illustration of a “mind map”. This shows all the different interests that revolve around the town. The basic point of this illustration is that no particular interest has a clear majority. Overall, one thing this tells me, is that I will not get everything that I want. It also tells me that I will have to compromise in order to get any of my ideas incorporated into town plans. This picture also shows me that I have a great deal of friends and neighbors that all volunteer their time and effort to make Nederland a great place to live. There are hundreds of volunteers represented on this map.

For example, suppose you oppose Miner’s Days. You come up and get your three minutes. You say, “I think we should cancel Miner’s Days because it celebrates a terrible time in our history where we raped the earth and polluted our land and water.” If you are unwilling to compromise, then the board will vote, your position will most likely lose simply because of the statistics behind the mind map that I showed a moment ago. Then you will be right back again next year opposing Miner’s Days. I have seen the same people oppose the same thing to this board for three years in a row.

If, on the other hand, you are willing to compromise, then you will need to attend our advisory boards’ meetings. They are all open to the public. You will state your position and perhaps we can work out a compromise. Perhaps we include a section at Miner’s Days that shows the clean-up efforts that are being taken to repair the environment. Perhaps we raise money for further clean-up efforts. We do need to bring up issues and find creative solutions to them instead of polarity.

The best example of compromise is our Wastewater Treatment Plant. I have watched the Honorable Trustee Kevin Mueller tirelessly review and negotiate for over three years on this plant to incorporate “green” elements into the project. The end result so far is that our financing will be reduced to $4.7 million from the original $11 million ,via a financing option pursued and negotiated by Eva and Alisha. The annual electricity cost has been reduced from $150,000 per year to less than $20,000 per year. Kevin’s impact will be felt by this town for more than the 20-year life of the plant. In total, he has been instrumental in saving us $8.9 million and reducing our carbon foot-print substantially. He is our neighbor and a volunteer.

All of our advisory boards are neighbors and volunteers. You see us at the B&F. Our children play hockey together. The DDA is one of these boards. The idea that they are corporate moguls who don’t live in Nederland, taking advantage of our economy is fairly ridiculous. You see them at the Business Connection or Ace Hardware. They shop here, they work hard to make a living, and they are also concerned about snow storms and forest fires. I’ve seen them helping people in both snow storms and forest fires. They are our neighbors and volunteers. Treat them with respect and they will compromise with you on your idea.

I have served on this board with the Honorable Trustee Rob Joseph for a year and a half. I have heard him thank volunteers from our various boards at every single board meeting, without exception. It is unusual that he is unavoidably out of town today. I have also yet to hear someone thank him.

Of course, our newest Trustee, the Honorable Randy Lee, has been to more board meetings and work sessions than anyone on the board. He is an incredible fund-raiser and our neighbor and a volunteer.

So, here is what you can expect for the next six months. It is all public. It will be on Facebook, email notifications, the Mountain Ear, Twitter, and posted at the post office, Town Hall, the beautiful new library, and the B&F.

Tonight, we will appoint a new Town Marshal.

At our next meeting, we will have the Sustainability Resolution on our agenda. We will also have the Economic Development Task Force recommendations on our agenda as a discussion item. We will appoint a new trustee.

After that, we will have a Board retreat with our new trustee. In this retreat, we will discuss how we would like to incorporate the newly accepted Envision 2020 document. This will be our guiding document. If you participated in Envision 2020, then your input is included in our plan. We will examine how it fits in with our goals and how it fits with the Action Plans of our advisory boards.

I have received many e-mails this week, and some have quoted the Envision 2020 document. This is what I hope we will continue to do. As we meet with our advisory boards, we will use the Envision 2020 document to guide the process.

We will map out all the remaining board meetings and work sessions of this Term. It will look a whole lot like this:

Thursday at 5:00 pm I will be at the “Art at the Center” event at the Community Center.


Next week we will have dinner with the Boulder County Commissioners, US Forest Service project update


Appoint new Trustee, Envision 2020 Board retreat, 2012 Budget hearing, Approve WWTP Contract, Sustainability Advisory Board Action Plan


Planning Commission Action Plan, (possibly meeting w/BZA), Community Thanksgiving Dinner, Town Administrator evaluation


Adopt 2012 Budget; Adopt 2012 Water/Sewer Rates, dinner with Chamber of Commerce, Winter Break


PROSAB Action Plan, dinner with Boulder Valley School District


DDA Action Plan, dinner with Gilpin County Commissioners


Community Center Foundation Board Action Plan, General Election for 3 Trustees and Mayor [April 3]

If you are interested in any of this, I would advise you to become familiar with the advisory board that pertains to your topic and plan your compromise with them before they meet with the Board of Trustees. We are your neighbors, we are all volunteers.

The Mayor referenced a “mindmap” that he developed, which illustrates the various departments, groups, perspectives, opinions and needs of people in Town.  This mindmap helps the Mayor remember that there are many perspectives and all are equally important.

  Nederland Mindmap (28.9 KiB, 570 hits)


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