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More than a week after Flagstaff City Manager Josh Copley submitted a scathing letter of resignation, the targets of his criticism have remained silent – at least in public.

Copley’s letter put the blame for his departure on two unnamed members of the city council, who he said treated him badly for months.

“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.

Copley did not name the two council members, but said the remainder of the council “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.”

When reached by phone, Copley declined to identify the two council members in his letter or the specific behavior that he found objectionable.

Several people with knowledge of the situation were willing to talk to The Daily Sun off the record about who they suspected the council members were, but none was willing to speak publicly.

When asked for comment over the phone or in person, Mayor Coral Evans, Vice Mayor Jamie Whelan and council members Scott Overton, Jim McCarthy and Charlie Odegaard declined to comment. Council members Celia Barotz and Eva Putzova did not respond to phone calls asking for comment.

The council unanimously approved appointing Barbara Goodrich as acting city manager Monday during the same meeting at which they formally accepted Copley’s resignation. Goodrich was most recently one of two deputy city managers. She previously worked at the city as budget director, finance director and management services director.

Copley, for his part, sent a final letter to staff that was more cordial than his resignation letter.

“Along with my previous military service, I have served for over forty years as a public servant,” Copley wrote in a goodbye letter to city staff. “I have worn a uniform or suit and tie for so long and my wardrobe opportunities have just opened up considerably. I am looking forward to getting to be just a private citizen for a change, and I kind of look at that as a promotion of sorts.”

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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