For information contact: Interim City Manager. Larry Hughes
MOUNT RAINIER, MD, ANNOUNCES A NEW CITY MANAGER
“We found someone whose record of initiative and vision is a great fit with the City Council’s hopes for the community,” Councilmember Jesse Christopherson said. “She’s been dynamic and fully engaged in improving all the places she has worked.”
Mayor Malinda Miles said she was impressed with the city manager applications gathered by the Novak Consulting Group. “There was a great pool of candidates with experience running cities all across the country. The four finalists were so impressive we could have done well with any one of them,” she said.
But she said Braatz’s local ties and experience were a strong factor in the decision to hire her.
“She knows municipalities and she knows Prince George’s County,” Miles said. “To know where to go for information and resources is a major advantage when advocating for our residents.”
At her previous job as assistant city administrator in New Carrollton, Md., Braatz founded the Economic Development Department and created an incentive program to revitalize the city center.
“Just like in Mount Rainier, the challenge in New Carrollton was to bring as much positive change as possible while maintaining the character of the community,” Braatz said. “The Council and I want Mount Rainier to see economic progress and keep its identity at the same time.”
Councilmember Tracy Loh said Braatz is a “dynamic rising star” in Prince George’s County public administration. “Her economic development experience is going to be invaluable to us because Mount Rainier is in a critical development phase,” she said.
Braatz also has experience with annexation, capital improvement, and charter revisions, which are priorities for the current mayor and Council.
“We have been in a sort of holding pattern since [former City Manager] Jeannelle Wallace left us last summer,” Christopherson said. “Our interim manager Larry Hughes has done a fantastic job putting out fires and preparing the city for new management. Thanks to him, the transition should be relatively smooth and Ms. Braatz will be able to focus on important issues immediately.”
The city’s manager-style government means Braatz will direct all executive functions, including supervision of the police, public works, finance, economic development, and code enforcement departments.
Councilmember Bryan Knedler said the Council will also expect her to be a leader and a focal point for the mayor and Council’s vision for the city.
“She’s going to have to tread that slippery ground between implementing the elected officials’ policy mandates and being a leader who takes ownership of the city’s direction,” Knedler said. “It’s not an easy task, but I think in Ms. Braatz we found someone who has the qualities that will make her successful.”
A city committee composed of Interim City Manager Hughes, Councilmembers Loh and Shivali Shah, and residents Michelle Lee and Tracy Velasquez was charged with creating and implementing the process for filling the city manager vacancy. Shah also organized two focus groups to get residents’ views on what makes a good city manager.
“I was really pleased with the committee’s dedication and the final outcome,” Shah said. “Ms. Braatz has a dynamic personality and residents will find that she fits in with the spirit of Mount Rainier very well. She will bring a fantastic energy to city hall.”
Braatz said she was eager to meet more Mount Rainier residents and take in their views.
“I love this area, and I am excited to work hard to implement the city’s vision of its best self,” she said.
Braatz earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from The George Washington University and a Masters of Public Administration from George Mason University.