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Denver Water’s head attorney announces upcoming retirement

DENVER — Feb. 28, 2018 — At the Denver Board of Water Commissioners meeting today, Denver Water General Counsel Patti Wells announced her upcoming retirement. Jessica Brody will start as the new general counsel in August, and Wells will stay on in her role until that time.

“The reason to make the announcement now is so that I can pass along the knowledge that I have acquired over the years by working with and learning from all of the outstanding staff at Denver Water,” said Wells. “I also want to ensure a smooth transition to a new general counsel.”

Patti Wells
Patti Wells has served as general counsel for Denver Water since 1991.

“Patti has been an essential member of the Denver Water team that brought the agency into the 21st century,” said Paula Herzmark, president of the Denver Board of Water Commissioners. “Her deep understanding of the history and the law behind every contract and every program has enabled Denver Water to effectively build on the strengths of the past as it sheds the old perceptions. She has been creative and protective of the environment, our watersheds and our partners in defending the state’s rivers and streams. Denver Water, Denver and Colorado have all benefitted from her selfless hard work. We are deeply grateful for her commitment, work ethic and intelligence.” 

Wells has served as general counsel for Denver Water since 1991. She was the first female Denver city attorney under Mayor Federico Peña. Wells currently serves as a governor-appointed member on the Colorado Water Conservation Board (since 2013), and also served from 1995 to 2001.

“Patti Wells has provided wise counsel to Denver Water for so many years and is a visionary leader on Colorado water issues,” said Gov. John Hickenlooper. “She has been instrumental as a member of the Colorado Water Conservation Board building bridges across the state in developing the Colorado Water Plan. Her leadership style helped in the groundbreaking Colorado River Cooperative Agreement that brought together both sides of the Continental Divide and resolved longstanding challenges.”

Wells served on the governor-appointed Colorado Water Quality Control Commission from 2007 to 2013. She served as either city attorney or deputy city attorney for the City and County of Denver from 1983 to 1991, and also worked as staff attorney for the Environmental Defense Fund and judicial clerk for Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. She holds a Juris Doctorate from Harvard Law School, and a Bachelor of Science degree from Auburn University.

“Patti has been a tireless advocate for Denver Water and its employees,” said Denver Water CEO/Manager Jim Lochhead. “Her passion and strength have been an example for us all. I look forward to working with Patti over the next several months as we continue to advocate for the benefit of our customers.”

Lochhead said the intent is for new the general counsel to be on board in July 2018, and the search will begin immediately. Interested candidates can contact Carolyn McCormick, [email protected].