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The Flagstaff City Council unanimously appointed Barbara Goodrich as acting city manager at a special meeting Monday morning after accepting former city manager Josh Copley’s resignation.

Goodrich served as deputy city manager since August 2015, where she oversaw management services, economic vitality, real estate, information technology, water services and community development, city spokeswoman Jessica Drum said in a press release.

Goodrich has worked for the city for 17 years, as budget director, finance director and management services director.

Copley turned in his letter of resignation Wednesday, saying it was effective May 8 unless the city found a suitable replacement sooner. His resignation became effective Monday morning when it was accepted by the council.

In Copley’s resignation letter, he alleged “unprofessional and discourteous” treatment from two unnamed council members and complicity by the rest of the 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.”

The letter gave no specific examples, and when reached by phone Friday, Copley said he did not wish to give a statement at the time, and declined to  identify the councilmembers in question.

No councilmembers have spoken on the record on the substance of Copley's letter, either by identifying the pair or commenting on their behavior toward Copley.

“The city council wants to thank Josh Copley for his decades of exemplary service to the city of Flagstaff and its citizens,” said Mayor Coral Evans in a statement. “We have all the confidence in the abilities of Barbara Goodrich and look forward to continuing to serve the citizens of Flagstaff with integrity.”

Copley has been employed with the city for 33 years, including 26 years with the Flagstaff Police Department, where he worked his way up from patrol officer to deputy police chief.

Copley was appointed city manager in August of 2015, originally for a term that was scheduled to expire in February 2017. His contract was then extended to last through February 2019.

He was originally appointed for only 18 months, while the council was supposed to search for a permanent city manager.

He took over after interim city manager Jeff Meilbeck’s contract ended. Meilbeck served as interim after Kevin Burke, the former city manager who served in the position for seven years, left for a job in Paradise Valley.

The city manager’s duties include preparing the agenda ahead of city council meetings, ensuring ordinances and provisions of city-granted franchises, leases, contracts, permits and privileges are observed, hiring and firing city employees, preparing an annual proposed budget, advising the city council about the needs of the city and other responsibilities pertaining to city leadership.

The reporter can be reached at cvanek@azdailysun.com or 556-2249.

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City Government and Development Reporter

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

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