June 7, 2021 – The Board of El Paso County Commissioners is excited to announce Bret Waters as the next County Administrator.
“As an organization, we value our residents, integrity, and doing the right thing,” said Board Chair Stan VanderWerf. “Bret perfectly reflects our values. I’m thrilled he will lead our organization, carry out our vision as commissioners, and solve complex issues facing our community. He has been in the trenches with us during times of crisis, like the COVID pandemic and wildfires that have threatened our region. Many people’s lives are already better because of Bret’s service to our community. We have no doubt Bret will make El Paso County residents proud.”
“I admire El Paso County’s culture, leadership, and commitment to serving our community,” said Bret Waters. “That’s what inspired me to apply for this position. I’m excited to be part of a team of dedicated leaders, community partners, and employees. There’s no doubt in my mind that we will accomplish incredible things together.”
Mr. Waters brings a depth of knowledge and experience to this role. Prior to his appointment, Waters served as the Deputy Chief of Staff under Colorado Springs Mayors John Suthers and Steve Bach. As Deputy Chief of Staff, Waters led a substantial number of various divisions and departments within Colorado Springs. Waters also served nine years as the Emergency Management Director for the City of Colorado Springs.
As Emergency Manager, Waters championed emergency preparedness, evacuation plans, and drills. One of the areas drilled was the Cedar Heights area. On June 23, 2012, preparation and planning proved fortuitous when the Waldo Canyon Fire threatened western Colorado Springs. Waters managed the Emergency Operations Center during the fire. The experience set Waters apart as a leader dedicated to the citizens.
Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach appointed Waters as Deputy Chief of Staff in 2014, and he continued in that role when John Suthers was elected Mayor in 2015. As Deputy Chief of Staff, Waters partnered with El Paso County to create the Pikes Peak Regional Office of Emergency Management. The regional approach increased efficiency and streamlined disaster responses across jurisdictional boundaries. The concept proved successful during the 2019 bomb-cyclone storm and the 2020-2021 COVID-19 pandemic.
“Waters’ selection is the result of a rigorous and thorough application process,” Commissioner VanderWerf observed. “We had a number of qualified applicants who navigated multiple interviews with key elected officials and staff. At the end of the day, we could not go wrong with the choices we had. But we were most impressed with Bret’s record of accomplishment, collaboration, and integrity.”
“I appreciate the Commissioners’ confidence,” said Waters. “I appreciate Amy Folsom’s leadership, integrity, and vision as County Administrator. I can’t wait to work with Assistant County Administrator Kenny Hodges and all the committed staff members at the county.”
The role of County Administrator is one of two positions directly appointed by the Board of County Commissioners. Current County Administrator Amy Folsom announced her impending retirement on March 1, 2021 after 25 years of service at El Paso County.
Waters will begin his tenure July 12, 2021. Ms. Folsom’s last day will be in August, which will ensure a smooth and orderly transition. El Paso County will hold a community meet and greet in the coming weeks to formally introduce Mr. Waters.