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Breaking News: Press Release provided at 5:39 p.m. on Sunday, May 27  from City of Salida announces Drew Nelson upcoming resignation

Drew Nelson, Salida City Administrator congratulates Salida Fire Captain Bob Jefferson on his retirement in July, 2020. Merrell Bergin photo

According to a press release provided during the Memorial Day weekend on Sunday night, May 27, it was announced that on May 26, 2023, the Salida City Council was provided a letter by City Administrator Drew Nelson stating his intention to leave the position no later than August 1, 2023.

Coming on the heels (just two days prior) of the decision of the Buena Vista Board of Trustees to terminate their contract with Lisa Parnell-Roberts, their Town Administrator, this news adds more uncertainty in local government circles.

Nelson has been in his position since October, 2018. While his hiring was highly controversial, on May 7, 2019, after seven months on the job during which he led efforts to cure a series of earlier financial and personnel issues, Nelson was retained and given a salary raise.

The notice given on May 26 was said to be intended “to provide an orderly and smooth transition of leadership for the City ahead of the November 2023 general election”. It should be noted that three Salida City Council seats may become vacant in November. One member has apparently decided not to run again and two others may not be eligible, as they will be residing outside of their wards.

Nelson indicated in his letter that this transition commenced in October of 2022 with the hiring of a “highly skilled Assistant City Administrator, Christy Doon”. Nelson and Doon will be working collaboratively with Mayor Dan Shore to create an orderly handoff of duties moving forward, and the press release says “there will be no reduction in services provided to the community.”

Image courtesy of the City of Salida.

“Mr. Nelson shared with me and the City Council a variety of personal and professional reasons for his desire to leave his position,” said Mayor Shore. “It is Drew’s prerogative as a professional to seek out new and different challenges, and we do not begrudge him that. We have been fortunate to have the benefit of Drew’s leadership for the past four and a half years, during which the City has experienced a dramatic rebuilding of City staff and forward progress on a myriad of projects. As he seeks new challenges, we wish him all the best”.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to that you have provided me to work with outstanding elected officials and staff. We have collectively collaborated on establishing the City of Salida as a top-performing organization, wrote Nelson, in his resignation letter. As the longest-tenured Administrator in Salida’s modern history, I can testify that the accomplishments of the City have been significant and will endure long after my departure. The incredible staff at the City is now positioned for long-term success and stability, and it has been one of the highlights of my career to witness this transformation.”

Ark Valley Voice respects the desires of the City of Salida staff and elected officials to enjoy time away from their duties during the Memorial Day weekend and will follow up with outreach to Nelson and elected officials to provide updates to this developing story.