Westminster city manager resigns a day after police chief’s exit

Westminster City Manager Donald M. Tripp has resigned, stepping down a day after the city announced the retirement of its police chief amid a workplace review that found policy violations under his watch.

Police Chief Tim Carlson retired Wednesday after spending nearly three months on paid leave during the outside review. Tripp, who had overseen the administration of Colorado’s eighth-largest city for nearly seven years, did not cite the problems in the police department as a factor in his resignation but said in a news release Thursday that the issue did affect the timing of his announcement.

“I have for some time now believed that we needed a change — a new voice to guide city staff — but I wanted to support our police department and ensure our officers have leadership in place before I stepped down,” Tripp said. “While there is never a perfect time to let go of the reins, I am thankful to have a strong executive team, and I am confident the city will have a smooth transition.”

This week’s leadership changes mean Westminster is looking to fill two top positions simultaneously. Norm Haubert is in place as interim police chief, and Jody Andrews, one of Tripp’s deputy managers, will serve as acting city manager.

“Don is a dynamic, solution-oriented leader and he has built a strong executive team who will continue to ensure our city services and infrastructure are delivered equitably, sustainably and effectively,”  Mayor Anita Seitz said in the news release.

Tripp was Westminster’s director of parks, recreation and libraries for about three years before being appointed city manager in 2015. He named Carlson, a Westminster police veteran, as chief the next year.

The city declined earlier this week to release the independent report on the police department to The Denver Post but confirmed the investigation cost more than $97,000. A news release characterized workplace policy violations as isolated and said the report found Carlson “did not effectively manage the department’s culture.”

The report noted instances in which a senior officer “routinely demeaned and was disrespectful to employees in the use of profanity, rude, and offensive language, disparaging comments, and personal insults,” the news release said.

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