Aurora City Manager Jim Twombly announced his retirement Friday after four years in the position, overseeing the city amid multiple controversies within its police department.
Twombly cited his desire to spend more time with his family, particularly his grandchildren. He said of the four cities he’s managed, he enjoyed his time in Aurora the most. His last day will be April 7.
“Although there have been many unexpected challenges during my tenure here, I have tried to lead with a steady hand while being responsive to both the Council and the community,” Twombly wrote in a letter to City Council members obtained by The Denver Post. “I believe I will be leaving the City of Aurora with a high performing, knowledgeable and competent staff.”
Twombly was hired in 2018 and said in his letter that he has had 42 years of public service.
He led the city during a period of time marred by problems within the Aurora Police Department. Last year, he fired Aurora Police Chief Vanessa Wilson amid mounting pressure by conservative members of the City Council and police union to do so. Twombly denied firing Wilson because of political reasons, saying the reason she was let go was because she prioritized community involvement but not internal and police operations.
Wilson was hired to replace former chief Nick Metz during Twombly’s tenure to lead the department and implement reforms — including those required by a court-monitored consent decree — following the death of Elijah McClain during a violent arrest by Aurora police. She publicly fired at least a dozen police officers for wrongdoing. But she faced criticism for rising crime in the city and the number of police officers leaving the agency, and ultimately was fired.
Former Miami Police Chief Art Acevedo was named the interim chief on an indefinite trial period.
City Councilwoman Danielle Jurinsky worked with Twombly over her past year on the council and she said she wanted to thank the city manager for his service. Jurinsky said morale among city staff seems to be high, which she credits to Twombly.
Although Twombly has dealt with criticism from council members, Jurinsky said any issues are tied to “such a divided council.”
“For any one person to have to answer to 10 bosses and 10 different ideas and 10 personalities, and of course, political differences, that’s hard to navigate,” she said.
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