By Jane Smith
After a two-year stint leading Delray Beach, City Manager Don Cooper turned in his resignation, effective Dec. 30.
“It is with regret that I must submit my resignation,” Cooper said in his Oct. 31 memo to the City Commission, mayor and senior staff. He cited family medical problems that “will interfere with the proper performance of my duties.” His wife apparently is the one who is ill.
Cooper, a longtime Port St. Lucie city manager, took the reins of Delray Beach in January 2015 when the city was suffering from instability and low morale.
“He helped stabilize the city during the initial culture shock period of ‘we are no longer doing things because that’s the way we always did them,’ ” Mayor Cary Glickstein said. “He helped staff understand that working smarter improves their quality of life on the job.”
Glickstein also said Cooper played a role in the great shape of the city’s public safety departments and creating “a bona fide 21st century information technology department and plan, and well-functioning purchasing, finance and treasury departments.”
Cooper listed his highlights as: focusing the staff on the commission’s goals and objectives, creating the special events policy in line with commission direction, improving the Fire Department, doing repair and maintenance to city facilities such as Old School Square, and starting on the beach master plan.
Under Cooper’s leadership, “we have, for the first time in decades, a real capital improvement plan driven by the city,” the mayor said. “He helped realign the city’s relationship with the [Community Redevelopment Agency], which was years overdue.”
The city has more work to do, both leaders agree.
“The city is in good shape and while his successor will have challenges, much of the heavy lifting is behind us,” Glickstein said. Cooper credits the staff with doing the work.
When asked what he will miss most about Delray Beach, he said, “The staff who really cares about the community.”
By Jane Smith