Positions Held

Elected and Appointed Seats

ELECTED POSITIONS HELD

  • Durango City Councilor: April 2017 – April 2021
  • 9R Board of Education Vice President: November 2005 – November 2009 

APPOINTED POSITIONS HELD

  • Mayor*, City of Durango: April 2019 – April 2020
  • Mayor Pro Tem, City of Durango:  April 2018 – April 2019
  • Strategy and Long-Term Finance Committee, Council Liaison: January 2020 – Current
  • Creative Economy Commission, Council Liaison: April 2019 – Current
  • La Plata County Economic Recovery Task Force Restaurant and Retail Sectors, Council Liaison: June 2020 – Current
  • Colorado Municipal League, City of Durango Representative: February 2020 – Current
  • Urban Renewal Authority Board of Directors, City of Durango: June 2020 – Current
  • La Plata Economic Development Alliance Board of Directors: April 2017 – April 2019

*Under Durango’s Home Rule form of government, City Counselors are elected by citizens, but mayors are nominated, approved and appointed by City Council members. 

Durango City Council

(April 2017 – April 2021)

DURANGO CITY COUNCIL

During my tenure as City Councilor, we implemented bold new policies and procedures to increase city government transparency and fiscal accountability. We created new city employee evaluation systems to foster greater accountability, and new and relevant City Council goals to keep us focused on a larger, strategic vision. We performed a thorough review and revision of budget processes and accounting policies and procedures. We created a Strategy and Long-Term Finance Committee (on which I served as City Council liaison) to promote fiscal sustainability for the City of Durango. I strove to be a consistently respectful and rational voice on an often-divided Council, encouraging civility and unity with the goal of keeping Council productively working on the tasks we are elected to do. Council members agreed during this time to a Working Agreement” outlining our roles as Councilors and how we might most effectively communicate and work together.

MAYOR, City of Durango

(April 2019- April 2020)

DURANGO MAYOR

During my tenure as Mayor, the city faced an unprecedented series of crises, including the sudden and contentious departure of previous City Manager, Ron LeBlanc, the resignation of our city Finance Director amid accusations of embezzlement, and the unwelcome arrival of the Covid 19 pandemic. Under my leadership, City Council hired Interim City Manager Amber Blake to keep the city running smoothly while we began a nationwide search for LeBlanc’s replacement (Jose Madrigal, our highly qualified new City Manager, took over in Sept 2020). We discovered troubling irregularities in the city’s finance department and, as the Colorado Bureau of Investigation began investigating allegations of misappropriations of funds, we hired an interim finance director to work with the city’s finance team to correct errors and fund balances. It was ultimately necessary to bring in the state’s Department of Local Affairs. It was not until April 7 that City Council finally had the opportunity to approve an amended and corrected budget. We then hired an external auditing firm to do a forensic audit going back several years. We are still awaiting the results.

During the initial months of COVID, I worked closely with regional leaders to determine steps to keep our community safe. I served on the Economic Recovery Task force with local business leaders to implement opportunities to adapt and respond to the new COVID environment (our local restaurant “bump-out” program, for instance).

Going forward, I will continue to strive to be a consistent, collaborative, and connected leader in our community. I’m grateful for each and every opportunity I’ve had to work with local citizens and organizations to achieve worthwhile goals, for the good of everyone in our community.

Local & Volunteer

Board Service
  • Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, City of Durango, Vice President: January 2014 – 2017
  • Trails 2000 Board of Directors: February 2012 – 2017
  • Animas High School Board of Directors, President: March 2012 – November 2015
  • Durango Discovery Museum, President: January 2010 – January 2013
  • Community Foundation Serving Southwest Colorado, Secretary: January 2003 – November 2005

Professional & Educational

Background
  • CEO and Founder of Pyramid Billing, Inc.: 2000 – 2015
  • Additional Finance Related Positions, see Melissa Youssef, MBA, on LinkedIn
  • Master of Business Administration, Finance and International Business – McGill University: 1989 – 1991
  • Bachelor of Science, Economics – University of Oregon: 1983 – 1987