Woodland Park City Manager Officially Calls It Quits

City Manager Darrin Tangeman

Tangeman Scheduled to Leave in Mid-December

~ by Bob Volpe and Trevor Phipps ~

The head manager’s exit news is now official.

After weeks of speculation, Woodland Park City Manager Darrin Tangeman announced briefly at last week’s regular meeting that he would be leaving his position by mid-December.

The move does not come as a surprise because it was reported a little more than a month ago that Tangeman was offered another city manager job in the Cape Cod, Massachusetts area. The unsure questions centered around the finalization of a contract, and when he would be departing.

 In late September, news reports circulated that Tangeman was the top pick for the town manager spot of Truro, Massachusetts.

“This should not come to anybody’s surprise, but I want to thank city council for your support, the staff’s support, and members of the community who have reached out to me in support,” Tangeman said, at last week’s meeting.

“I submitted my resignation letter to city council and my last day with the city will be December 11. I will have more comments during my last meeting on December 3, but it felt appropriate to announce it tonight because you have received my letter saying that I will be moving on at that point. But I want to thank city council for the support you have provided to me in our discussion on this.”

According to a press release from the town of Truro, Massachusetts, Tangeman’s first day at his new job will be January 4, 2021.

Tangeman has been the city manager for Woodland Park since September 17, 2017. During his tenure with the city, Tangeman has overseen two annual budgets.  He has been working with city council and staff on the 2021 budget, one of the more challenging fiscal blueprints leaders have faced.

Among his cited accomplishments, Tangeman created a citizens’ academy in the city. The citizens’ ‘academy invites residents to take part in a six to eight-week program where they see presentations, discuss different services within the community, ask department directors and staff really hard questions about the city operations. The goal is for residents to get a better understanding of the government’ limitations and constraints. Participants can also can make recommendations, based on their perceptions and understanding of the process, at the end of the program. Tangeman also helped secure several key grants to boost the city’s revenue.

During his time with the city, Tangeman was not without criticism. Some influential residents and some in city government were critical of Tangeman’s hiring and firing of WP workers and creating jobs that did not previously exist. Most recently, some were upset at the termination of a position held by Karen Casey. Casey served as a liaison between the city and the media.

Michael Lawson Woodland Park’s new Assistant City Manager

Tangeman also recently created a permanent assistant city manager position. City Clerk Suzanne Leclercq had been handling that job before this position, a role that was also handled by previous city clerks. On October 15,  the city sent out a press release announcing the hiring of Michael Lawson as Woodland Park’s new Assistant City Manager. Lawson’s first day with the city was Monday, October 19.

According to a city announcement, “Lawson comes to the city with experience and a proven track record of success in local government. Prior to accepting this position, Lawson d for the city of San Diego as a Management Analyst, and then with the city of Aurora for more than 12 years in various roles: Manager of City-Wide Special Projects, Interim Community Development Manager, Interim City Clerk, Finance and Budget Program Manager and Finance and Budget Program Administrator.”

Lawson will soon take over as the acting city manager in Tangeman’s absence. It is unclear whether the council will appoint Lawson as the permanent position of city manager, or whether the elected leaders will do a search for a head boss from around the country.  In the past, the city has pursued an active recruiting process for this position.

Tangeman’s stint with the city was probably one of the shortest, compared to previous city bosses. Previous Woodland Park City Manager David Buttery held the city boss reins for 10-plus years.  But in the last few years, head administrators/managers of local communities in the Pikes Peak region haven’t lasted in their respective positions for that long.