Glenwood city manager Copp’s out
and Greg Masse
Post Independent Staff
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Longtime Glenwood Springs city manager Mike Copp announced on Thursday that he will retire from his post on May 1, 2004.
After 20 years on the job, Copp said, “It’s time. I can pull retirement.”
Copp will be leaving just as one longtime goal – building a municipal golf course – appears to be moving forward.
The effort may be slowed, however, if some residents put the golf course funding mechanism – known as certificates of participation, or COPS – to a public vote.
“As far as scheduling purposes, whatever happens with the golf course and COPs and the pool should be known,” Copp said.
“I think that he feels that one way or the other, by May it’s going to be decided – whether it goes to a vote or whether we go ahead with the COPs,” Mayor Don Vanderhoof said.
Copp, 52, announced his plans eight months before the effective date so the city will have plenty of time to search for and train Copp’s successor.
“It’s so we can have a smooth transition,” he said.
Vanderhoof said Copp has agreed to help with the search and to mentor the person. He expects council members will want to start the search for a new city manager immediately.
“I’m sure they want to get him on hand as quickly as possible to get as much time with Mike as possible,” the mayor said.
In a letter announcing his retirement, Copp wrote, “I came to Glenwood Springs as a 32-year-old looking to make my mark on this community and then move onto bigger things. In that time, I looked at becoming a manager in bigger cities, but I could never find one better than Glenwood Springs.”
“I figure 20 years is enough in any job,” he said on Thursday.
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Copp also wrote that he and his wife, Heather, plan to “make Glenwood Springs our permanent home.”
“We’re planning on keeping the house,” he said.
Other than that, Copp said he has no definite plans.
“I probably want to take a few months off in the summer,” he said.
He also joked that unlike others, for his mid-life crisis he got married and is quitting his job.
Vanderhoof said Copp informed City Council of his decision Wednesday.
“It certainly was all his decision and not the city’s or the council’s,” Vanderhoof said. “I hate to see him leave. It’s too bad for the city but I certainly understand his reasons and respect them.”
Vanderhoof said 20 years is a long time for a city manager to stay on the job. But Copp’s experience was one of his strengths, Vanderhoof said.
Other strengths include Copp’s managerial ability and knack in picking the right people for the jobs, Vanderhoof said.
“The city is in absolutely extraordinary condition. He’s had a lot of help, but he’s the one that really was the driving force,” Vanderhoof said.
Working with finance director Mike Harman, Copp left the city in great financial shape, he said.
He said he wasn’t aware of any major areas of disagreement between council and Copp.
“Some of the members of council may not always agree with him. But I don’t think I’ve ever seen or heard of a council member that didn’t respect Mike.”
City Councilman Rick Davis said Copp is “an institution.”
“He’s going to be sorely missed,” he added. “It’s going to be an adventuresome time and a scary time.”
Glenwood Springs Electric Department line supervisor John Hines – one of a handful of city employees hired before Copp – said he’s disappointed to hear the news, and saddened.
“We’re going to lose somebody who’s been vital,” Hines said. “I couldn’t ask for a better boss. He’s been very supportive.”
Glenwood Springs Public Works director Robin Millyard said Copp had a tough job, but handled it well.
“I think he’s done a really good job over the years,” he said.
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