State Personnel Director named one of Governing Magazine’s Public Officials of the Year

DENVER ­— Friday, Nov. 22, 2013 — Colorado Department of Personnel & Administration Executive Director and State Personnel Director Kathy Nesbitt has been named one of nine “2013 Public Officials of the Year” by Governing Magazine.

Nesbitt, who is a member of Gov. John Hickenlooper’s cabinet, is honored to receive the recognition.                                                           

Nesbitt is being acknowledged for “enacting and implementing major personnel reforms in just two years that help solve problems familiar to governments across the country.” Nesbitt led an effort dubbed “The Talent Agenda,” to better recruit, reward and retain a state workforce of more than 33,000 classified employees, one-third of whom are retirement eligible.

She drafted significant personnel legislation and worked with the State Legislature to introduce a statewide ballot initiative (Amendment S) that had employee organization support and passed with 56% of the vote in November 2012. This was the first significant change to the State’s personnel system in 92 years, and previous attempts to pass similar legislation had failed.

“It is a great privilege to help carry out the vision of the administration and the will of the voters to better recruit, reward and retain the state’s workforce,” said Nesbitt. “Bringing the state’s personnel system into the 21st century enables us to be a more efficient, effective and elegant employer.”

The personnel changes made updated hiring and retention practices for State agencies, modified the accountability of the State Personnel Board and expanded eligibility of applicants for State government jobs. Since implementation, the time it takes for the state to fill a job has dropped from 90 to 30 days.

Hickenlooper appointed Nesbitt to his cabinet in 2011. Her career as a labor and employment attorney and extensive experience in human resources made her uniquely qualified to create and administer the rules that govern the more than 33,000 classified state employees, as well as their compensation and benefits.

Hickenlooper said, “Every day Kathy combines a determination to do something for the state of Colorado with a passion to bring together best practices and innovations. Her sincere interest in the people who make up the state workforce is making real and lasting change. We want to congratulate her for this national recognition that is so well deserved.”

Nesbitt is recognized in the magazine’s December 2013 edition along with eight other public officials from across the country that include, among others, Oregon’s governor, Virginia’s house speaker and Maryland’s lieutenant governor.


For more information, contact:

Sabrina D'Agosta, Director of Policy & Communications

O 303-866-6555  |  C 303-437-6671