Elizabeth Fretwell, City Manager, City of Las Vegas, NV

Elizabeth Fretwell, City Manager, City of Las Vegas, NV

In 2009 Betsy Fretwell was sworn in as city manager.  Ms. Fretwell oversees a dynamic organization of more than 3,000 employees and a budget of $1.3 billion. She also serves as the executive director of the Las Vegas Redevelopment Agency charged with the economic revitalization of downtown Las Vegas.  Some of the major accomplishments under her leadership include achieving a 4 Star community sustainability ranking, converting all city facilities to 100% renewable energy sources, improving the equality index score to 100, and credentialed by International Economic Development Council.  Some of the major projects that have come to fruition during her tenure include building a new City Hall, attracting the corporate headquarters of Zappos.com, Inc. to downtown and completing The Smith Center for the Performing Arts and the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health.  She also oversaw a massive redesign of the city’s 10-year old website and initiated a dozen new park projects using $50 million in bonds.

Fretwell took the helm just as the organization was beginning to feel the effects of the “great recession” on the Las Vegas economy. At that time, the city led the nation in unemployment and foreclosures.  As city manager, she turned a 20% deficit into a balanced budget in a few short years using performance management, organizational restructuring and renegotiation of all union contracts.  The city of Las Vegas has balanced its annual budgets since 2012.  Bonds for both the redevelopment agency and the city were upgraded in 2014.

She recently served on the Governor’s Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee.  In 2016 Betsy received the ICMA Program Excellence award for sustainability and received an award from the Human Rights Campaign for community leadership.  She is a fellow in the National Academy of Public Administration since 2012.  In 2012, she was awarded the National Public Service Award by the American Society of Public Administration.  In 2011, Ms. Fretwell was recognized as Woman of the Year by The Gay & Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada.  She was recognized by Sierra Club 2010 with the Southern Nevada Environmental Stewardship Award and named as a Woman to Watch in 2009 by In Business Las Vegas.  She is a graduate of the University of Georgia with a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in public administration. She completed the Harvard University Senior Executives in State and Local Government Program in 2007.