On Aug. 8, Grover Beach Police Chief Jim Copsey announced his intention to retire later this year. In addition to his 10-year tenure at the police department, Copsey has been doing double-duty as Grover’s assistant city manager since late 2013.
Copsey’s announcement came as a surprise to the city, according to City Manager Bob Perrault. “We had expected him to stay on at least another year or two,” Perrault said.
Copsey’s retirement will be effective Dec. 26.
Losing Copsey will definitely have an impact on the city, Perrault said, as his “rare set of skills and talents” were valuable to the city’s management team. The assistant city manager position will remain empty after Copsey’s departure, Perrault said.
Grover is already searching for a replacement for the police chief position. Perrault said that there are a couple of possible candidates within the department, but he’s not opposed to the idea of casting a wider net if that’s what it takes to get the best person in the position.
When Copsey took on the assistant city manager responsibilities, his base pay went from $130,962 to $144,192—making him the highest paid public employee in the city.
According to Copsey, it isn’t yet known if the base pay for the police chief position will stay at $144,192 without the added assistant city manager duties. “That decision has not been even discussed yet,” Copsey said.
As for the assistant city manager position, there isn’t really one. Perrault chose Copsey to be his assistant because he valued Copsey’s insight and skills, but it isn’t a permanent position.
Copsey’s responsibilities will be divided among the city’s division heads after his retirement. In the case of another extended absence—Perrault was away from the position for three months in 2013—the division heads will take on the city manager duties as well.
Copsey has been working 50 or 60 hours per week in the police chief position alone. The assistant city manager duties have added another five to 10 hours to his working week, he said.
“I have reached a point where I want to move on with the next chapter in my life,” Copsey said. “I expect that I will travel and spend more time with my family.”