Get to Know Kevin Bommer, Colorado Municipal League Executive Director
In This Section
How did you end up at the Colorado Municipal League? After my undergraduate and graduate work at the University of Wyoming, I was in Utah for three years working for a nonprofit on growth management. When the opportunity came to move to Colorado, I took it and arrived around June 1999. I started in October 1999 with CML as a staff associate — basically in charge of meetings and outreach — until I got my break as a lobbyist in 2000.
What do you enjoy most about your position? This job is all about doing everything we can for our members who give their blood, sweat, and tears to the communities they love so much. I am inspired by those who choose to serve as elected officials or choose careers in public service. Anything I can do to make their jobs easier makes my job more fulfilling.
What challenges do you foresee for Colorado cities and towns? That is a long list! Where should I start? The great thing about municipal leaders is how they look at a challenge as an opportunity. It does not matter if it is climate change, the impacts of TABOR and Gallagher, infrastructure, or economic development. Municipal leaders talk about how to tackle challenges like those and make things better.
What are some exciting things going on at CML? No matter how folks interact with CML, they are going to see some exciting new things in 2019. These include rebranding and a new website, some new faces filling some open positions, and a strong focus on member engagement and outreach.
What goals do you have as the League’s new director? First, I want to honor the legacy of leaders prior to me — the executive directors and all the fine folks that have served on the CML Executive Board since I started 20 years ago. I was two years old when Ken Bueche was hired as executive director in 1973, and I am only the eighth director of CML, which was founded in 1923. Ken Bueche and Sam Mamet dedicated a total of nearly 80 years to the organization and our members, and my goal is to live up to the legacy they leave behind. In the next several months, I will be taking the time to meet with as many of our members as I can and listen to what they think about CML and the services we provide. What should we do more — or less — of? How can CML serve them better? I want that information to guide the decisions made by the board and me charting the future of the organization. It is going to be an exciting time to be a part of the CML family!
What project or undertaking are you most proud of and why? I am proud of the work I have done as a lobbyist for 20 years, and the team I have led for most of that time, which will continue to remain strong. Our strategic plan, and all the promise for growth that it holds, is our diamond in the rough. The best part of it is the strong collaborative effort from the entire staff and immense support from the CML Executive Board. We all own it.
What is the funniest thing to happen while at work? Some of the best laughs have been with the staff. During a staff holiday party at the former Elitch Lanes, Sam Mamet donned a couple of white elephant gifts (a flashing red reindeer nose and holiday-themed boxer shorts) over what he was wearing. I am pretty sure that is the year he took home the first annual CML Staff Bowling Championship.
What website(s) and/or publication(s) do you refer to when seeking information? We all start with our favorite search engines, don’t we? That is almost always the starting point, but I like to dig a lot deeper. That might have something to do with doing research when I was in school by combing through card catalogs, finding articles in periodicals captured on microfiche, and browsing through the stacks. Even though we can get more information faster in the digital age, sometimes you still have to roll up your sleeves to find the best information.
What book are you currently reading? Are you enjoying it? The Leadership Challenge by James Kouzes and Barry Posner (Fifth Edition). It is a great, thought-provoking book for anyone in leadership or aspiring to be a leader.
Kevin Bommer has been with CML since October 1999, was appointed deputy director in 2012, and as executive director as of April 1, 2019. He has been a lobbyist for municipal interests nearly all of that time and led the CML advocacy team in the Colorado Statehouse for nearly 10 years. Kevin was born and raised in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and graduated from the University of Wyoming (UW). He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in public administration from UW. While attending UW, Kevin interned in Washington, D.C., for U.S. Sen. Alan K. Simpson and subsequently staffed his Laramie, Wyoming, field office. They remain close friends. Prior to joining CML, Kevin was the local government coordinator for Envision Utah, a public–private partnership for responsible growth management, from 1996 to 1999 and was responsible for the involvement of 76 municipalities and 10 counties. Kevin’s wife, Gabriella, is a member of the municipal family. She is the deputy director of human resources for the City of Arvada. Kevin’s step-daughter (Gabriella’s daughter), Christy Vetsch, is a senior at Colorado State University.