Herb Jaffe: Outgoing Las Vegas city manager a loss for Summerlin

They’re sure going to miss Betsy Fretwell down at City Hall. More so, Summerlin is going to miss Betsy Fretwell.

July 6 was set to be her last day as Las Vegas’ city manager, after eight and a half years and a list of accomplishments that is yay long. Her well-experienced deputy, Scott Adams, takes over July 7.

“I had a great run. I’ve been totally blessed,” she said in an interview. “But change is good sometimes, and for me this is a great opportunity.”

Fretwell, who has worked for the city since 2000, is moving on to a smart city division of Switch Communications, as a senior vice president. Switch is a San Francisco-based global technology company with a major facility in the Reno-Tahoe area that has been called the world’s largest and most advanced data center campus.

She will be remembered for guiding the city through its most critical recession. Deep into that economic pitfall, as Fretwell explained it, she finalized three major accomplishments for the city: “We opened The Smith Center, the Mob Museum and the new City Hall, all in 2012.”

Under the prevailing economic climate, “that was big,” she said, adding, “There was a lot of work involved in making sure that we stay under budget, which we did, and that we get those jobs done on time, which we did.”

That same year, Las Vegas Fire and Rescue Station No. 107 was completed in Sun City Summerlin, an accomplishment that Fretwell played a vital role in engineering. The late David Steinman, former city councilman and president of the Sun City Board of Directors at the time of his passing last January, worked hard to make the fire station a reality. But behind the scenes Fretwell was hard at work to bring it to life.

“Dave Steinman wanted that fire station so much for Sun City,” she said. “He was a remarkable man. He was part of the City Council that appointed me city manager in 2009.”

There were other Summerlin accomplishments for Fretwell. “I did quite a bit of work with Howard Hughes Corp. and their opening of new villages and developments in Summerlin, especially since the end of the recession,” she said. “We had a great relationship with people at the Hughes Corp.”

Fretwell pointed to her involvement in agreements under which the city took over responsibility for parks and recreation areas in Summerlin, as well as extension of the 215 Beltway. She was instrumental in obtaining the financing for modifications that have helped improve traffic and safety along Summerlin Parkway, a series of projects that will continue into next year.

While veteran City Hall employees have expressed their highest regard for Fretwell, one of her strongest supporters is city traffic engineer Mike Janssen, who is also deputy director and transportation manager of the Las Vegas Department of Public Works.

“A lot of us are sad to see Betsy go. In my 21 years here she has been our biggest supporter in transportation. She helped to create our mobility master plan,” Janssen said, referring to the movement of pedestrians, bicyclists and motor traffic. “It’s an integral part of the city’s strategic plan for today and well into the future.”

As for the funding needed to add auxiliary lanes and other features that are enabling Summerlin Parkway to handle a major increase in traffic, “Betsy has made that a priority. She was 100 percent behind us in getting the funding for Summerlin Parkway improvements.

“The way it works is like this,” Janssen added. “Before I go to the City Council with a request, I need the funding support, and Betsy was always there.”

Herb Jaffe was an op-ed columnist and investigative reporter for most of his 39 years at the Star-Ledger of Newark, New Jersey. His most recent novel, “Double Play,” is available. Contact him at hjaffe@cox.net.

ad-high_impact_4
Local
Family remembers deceased mother
Family members of Adriann Gallegos remember her. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Camp Broadway teaches kids how to sing and dance
The Smith Center's seventh annual Camp Broadway musical theater program gives 150 kids ages 6-17 an opportunity to learn musical theater skills from industry professionals over a five-day period. Marcus Villagran/ Las Vegas Review-Journal @brokejournalist
Restoring classic Corvettes to perfection
Members of the National Corvette Restorers Society Convention talk about what it takes to earn the NCRS Top Flight Award for a restored Corvette at South Point in Las Vegas on Tuesday July 17, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Watch Ruthless! at Las Vegas Little Theatre
The musical Ruthless! will be playing at Las Vegas Little Theatre from July 13-29. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Cadaver art and sword swallowing at The Dark Arts Market
Curator Erin Emrie talks about her inspiration for The Dark Arts Market at Cornish Pasty Co. in Las Vegas Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
'NO H8' Campaign comes to Las Vegas
Hundreds of locals participate in the NO H8 campaign founded by Adam Bouska and Jeff Parshley as a response to Proposition 8, a California ban on same-sex marriage. The campaign has since evolved to represent equal treatment for all. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
What to expect at Station Casinos' Fourth of July celebration
Station Casinos' is hosting its annual 4th of July celebration with Fireworks by Grucci. Fireworks scheduled to go off on Wednesday, July 4 around 9 p.m. at Green Valley Ranch Resort, Red Rock Resort, Fiesta Rancho and Texas Station. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Star Wars and Golden Knights mashup at downtown art shop
Star Wars and Vegas Golden Knights fans attend the Boba Fett Golden Knight Paint Class at The Bubblegum Gallery in Las Vegas, Friday, June 29, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Tourists and locals enjoy Independence Day fireworks at Caesars Palace
Hundreds of tourists and locals gaze at the Independence Day fireworks show at Caesars Palace on Saturday, June 30, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Clark County recount votes in commission’s District E primary
Clark County staff begin the recount requested by candidate Marco Hernandez in the democratic primary for the County Commission's District E seat on Tuesday, June 26, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Long-running local hip hop producer wants Vegas rappers to shine
Las Vegas Hip Hop producer and co-owner of Digital Insight Recording Studios Tiger Stylz reflects on 30 years of music production in the city. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
"Pawn Stars" fans visit Richard Harrison's memorial at Gold & Silver Pawn
"Pawn Stars" fans from around the world visit the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas following the passing of Richard "Old Man" Harrison on Monday, June 25, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Construction for new 51s ballpark underway
New home of the Las Vegas 51s is planned to be finished by March 2019 in Summerlin according to team president Don Logan. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Underground home was built as Cold War-era hideaway
The underground house at 3970 Spencer Street is one of the valley’s most unusual homes built 26 feet underground in 1978 by Girard “Jerry” B. Henderson, who, planned to survive the end of the world there.
Lip Smacking Foodie Tours takes you where the locals go
Donald Contursi talks about Lip Smacking Foodie Tours, which offers walking tours of restaurants on and off Las Vegas Boulevard with food samples and tidbits of history about the places they visit.
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
ad-infeed_1
ads_infeed_2
Local Spotlight
Herb Jaffe Video
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like