Casper City Council member Chris Walsh has resigned effective immediately, according to a letter submitted to Mayor Charlie Powell on Thursday and in a phone interview on Friday
“I have recently been privileged with a significant career change that consumes a great deal of my time,’ Walsh wrote.
He will be working for the Wyoming Attorney General’s Office as the head of the Peace Officers Standards and Training division, he told K2 Radio News. “[It] sets standards for employing, certifying, and training of all peace officers in the state, all detention officers, (county jails) all corrections officers (state institutions) and all dispatchers,” according to the division’s website.
” I have been unable to attend the last two meetings due to scheduling,” Walsh wrote in his resignation letter. “The Ward III position demands a person who can dedicate the proper amount of time and energy required for responsible representation.”
Walsh, the former Casper Police Chief, was elected to represent Ward III in east Casper in November 2016 and was sworn in the following January.
“During that time we have seen several high level personnel changes and worked through very troubling budget issues,” he wrote. “We have collectively navigated those challenges and recently passed a budget that allowed us to dedicate money to savings, allow for step increases and provide a bonus for our employees.”
The personnel changes that happened during that time included the dismissal of former City Attorney Bill Luben, the hiring of new City Attorney John Henley, the resignation of former City Manager V.H. McDonald, the hiring of new City Manager Carter Napier, the acrimonious controversies within the Casper Police Department and the firing of former Chief Jim Wetzel, the hiring of new Police Chief Keith McPheeters, the early retirement of former Fire Chief Kenneth King, the hiring of current Fire Chief Tom Solberg, and the hiring of Chief Financial Officer Tom Pitlick.
Walsh said he was most proud of the work he did revising the city’s animal control ordinance.
With Walsh’s resignation, city council will advertise the open seat in Ward III, receive applications, interview those interested, and make a selection from those candidates.
While Walsh will be off city council, a council issue still remains with a civil lawsuit before the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Former Casper City Council member Craig Hedquist sued Walsh, alleging former City Manager John Patterson asked Walsh when he was police chief to research Hedquist’s background using a national database in 2013.
The Circuit Court heard oral arguments in that case in March, and the judges have yet to issue a ruling.
Walsh said his resignation has nothing to do with the Hedquist lawsuit.