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Josh Copley

Josh Copley

Former Flagstaff City Manager Josh Copley will receive nearly $92,000 in severance pay, despite a provision in his contract that states if the city manager resigns voluntarily, he or she is not entitled to severance pay.

Copley’s severance agreement, which was accepted by the city council February 12, states Copley would continue to receive his regular salary until February 28. On or before February 28, once Copley has turned in all city property issued to him, like keys, credit cards, documents and any other equipment, he shall receive a lump sum of six months’ worth of his salary. According to Copley’s contract, he was making $183,600 per year.

As another term of the severance, Copley will receive six months of health insurance coverage and will be paid for all unused vacation and half of unused sick time accumulated through February 28.

Copley resigned February 7, and said he had been treated unprofessionally by members of the city council.

“Over the course of the past few months, I have repeatedly been treated in an unprofessional and discourteous manner by two city council members who seem to be more concerned with their political ambitions and personal agendas than the good of the city as a whole,” Copley wrote in his letter of resignation.

“While I have come to expect this type of behavior from those two, I am deeply disappointed in the remainder of the council who appear to have chosen to succumb to unseemly tactics and renege on a commitment made to me to allow me the small courtesy of deciding when I would choose to retire,” he wrote. “As a leader, I would never think to treat my subordinates with such careless disregard and to allow this to pass without strenuous objection is a discredit to me and, vicariously, to all of the wonderful employees of our great city.”

Copley did not name the two members of the council in his letter, and when reached by phone soon after the resignation was submitted, he declined to identify them.

After the council accepted Copley’s resignation, they appointed Deputy City Manager Barbara Goodrich to be acting city manager while they seek a permanent replacement.

Copley is the second high-ranking local government official to resign in 2018 and receive a severance payment. Coconino County Manager Cynthia Seelhammer’s resignation was approved by the county’s board of supervisors in January. As part of Seelhammer’s resignation, she was to be paid a lump sum of $88,600, plus a $10,000 contribution to her deferred compensation plan.

The reporter can be reached at or 556-2249.


City Government and Development Reporter

Corina Vanek covers city government, city growth and development for the Arizona Daily Sun.

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