Sturgeon accepted into prestigious Harvard program |

Sturgeon accepted into prestigious Harvard program

Matt Sturgeon
Staff Photo |

Rifle City Manager Matt Sturgeon was recently accepted to the Harvard Kennedy School Senior Executives in State and Local Government Program in Boston.

Classes run from June 1-19. Assistant City Manager Kimberly Bullen will serve as city manager during that time. Sturgeon has served as city manager for the past two years. He worked for the city for 11 years prior to his appointment as city manager in 2013.

“Matt continues to demonstrate strong leadership in dealing with difficult community issues, and council is excited for him to have this opportunity,” Rifle Mayor Randy Winkler said. “His enthusiasm and initiative to learn more about how to meet the changing needs of our community, helps strengthen our community as we move forward.”

The Harvard Kennedy School recognizes that “senior executives in state and local governments face greater demands from a skeptical public today than at any time in recent decades. Across the country, revenues have fallen sharply, the need for services has spiked and trust in government has plummeted,” according to the program website.

A peer originally recommended Sturgeon apply to the program several years ago, but the timing was not right. “I decided the timing was right,” Sturgeon said of his recent acceptance into the program. Specifically, Sturgeon said he is interested in discussing pertinent issues, such as infrastructure and financing, with fellow leaders from rural communities.

Admission to the program is both highly competitive and expensive. A partial fellowship from the Gates Family Foundation Fellowship is covering nearly the entire cost of the trip. The remaining $900 will come from Sturgeon’s travel budget. Typically, Sturgeon said he travels to the annual Colorado Municipal League conference, but this year he opted to attend the Harvard program instead.

The program provides a balance of traditional and hands-on learning experiences, according to its website. In particular, this program enables participants to become more effective public managers by challenging assumptions about how to exercise leadership in the public sector, develop new conceptual frameworks for addressing policy issues, examining innovative partnerships and new models of collaborative governance, while exploring the relationship between citizens and their government. This three-week intensive program provides the opportunity for faculty and participants to work together on real-life case studies and learn from each other. Key topics covered during the program will include; leadership, negotiations, public-private partnerships, cooperative governance and behavioral decision-making.

“I’m excited,” Sturgeon said. “I hope to bring back things that are relevant and can be applied here in Rifle.”

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