City Parks’ TOPS boss resigns to ‘be a mom’
3rd department higher-up to leave in past 2 years
Sarah Bryarly, an eight-year City Parks employee who had risen to the level of interim manager of the Trails, Open Space and Parks (TOPS) program, will step down Dec. 9.
She made the announcement at the City Parks Advisory Board meeting Nov. 10.
She is the third high-level Parks official to resign in the past three years. Director Paul Butcher and previous TOPS chief Chris Lieber gave their notice in 2010.
A first-time mother this year, Bryarly said in an interview this week that her decision “has nothing to do with my workload. I love my work and I love the people I work with. I just feel like my calling now is to be a mom.”
The decision wasn't easy, she said, noting that she's been thinking about it for five months, but “I am very excited. I think it's the best thing for my family.”
Kurt Schroeder, whose administrative scope with City Parks includes oversight of the TOPS office, said the plan is to replace Bryarly. He is optimistic about finding someone capable (“I think there are a lot of talented people here in town”), but elaborated that the process will take a few weeks and a new person will not be hired until January at the earliest.
Part of the process will require decision-making on whether the new person will have the same work scope Bryarly did, or if some of her assignments might get traded out to other administrative employees and vice-versa. “We're still formulating a plan,” she said. “I can't say who will get what tasks, but something will get worked out.”
In the meantime, “there will be a lot of bases to cover for everyone,” Schroeder said. “Sarah was a one-woman show.”
He expects the salary range for her replacement will equate to that of a landscape architect (Bryarly's actual job description), paying between $46,000 and $58,000 a year.
Bryarly took over the TOPS program on an interim basis in 2010 after Lieber resigned.
When she started with the city in 2004, the city had eight people involved in TOPS. The city has added hundreds of acres of open space since then (using earnings from the TOPS sales tax), but deep budget cutbacks since 2009 have reduced TOPS-involved Parks employees to just two people - Bryarly and a project manager, Schroeder said.
Her most recent project with Westside impacts involved working with a consultant this fall - including a series of public meetings - to integrate a master plan for Red Rock Canyon Open Space with the new Section 16 and White Acres open-space properties.
A week ago, she announced that the Red Rock effort was being put on hold because of widespread “trust” concerns between City Parks and its many user and friends groups citywide. A separate consultant-led effort - now being called a “Relationship Building Process” - was to address that, starting in January, she said at the time.
However, that process will likely be delayed because of Bryarly's departure, Schroeder said. He predicted February as a more likely starting month.
City Parks was Bryarly's second job after leaving Denver University with two master's degrees (landscape architecture and urban and regional planning). Her work often took her out from behind the desk - for example, she joined crews on numerous trail-construction projects in Red Rock Canyon over the years.
Westside Pioneer article