When City Manager Penelope Culbreth-Graft resigned March 19, she said city employees have labored tirelessly to care for the people of Colorado Springs.
“They are to be commended for their professionalism – especially in these times of severe scrutiny,” Culbreth-Graft said in her resignation letter to the City Council.
“They are remarkable,” she said.
On the same day, Culbreth-Graft also sent employees a letter announcing her resignation.
“While I am moving on, you have chosen to remain,” she said in the letter.
“For that, you have my admiration, as you have chosen to stay for at least another day, knowing what threatens your future,” she said. “I hope you will not give up for you are the hope for a community that has not yet realized what lies ahead.”
Below is the text of her letter to city employees:
March 19, 2010
Dear City Employees,
Today I submitted my letter of resignation. My last day will be April 16. I made this decision after considerable thought and a two-year effort to resolve sizeable deficits, streamline operations, and positively impact the community.
I wanted to share my private thoughts after working with you through these challenging times.
You are the finest workforce in America. I’ve had the pleasure of working with thousands of talented public servants in my 32-year career. I believe Colorado Springs’ employees stand out among the greatest. You are compassionate, honorable, dedicated, and selfless. You give freely of yourselves, ask for so little yet give so much, and have walked willingly into death’s grip to save someone you’ve never met before.
As I’ve talked with hundreds of you in the past few weeks, I’ve looked you in the eyes and asked, “Why are you here?” Repeatedly, I hear, “to serve, Ma’am.” While I don’t like the Ma’am part, I do like what I hear…to serve. Public service is what you do; it’s what we do. It’s in our blood. It’s in our hearts. It’s what keeps us smiling when someone shouts profanity at us. It’s what drives us to continue giving when being spat upon. It’s what causes us to continue finding better ways to serve the public when a disparaging remark or untruth shows up in print. It’s what keeps us coming back when a vocal minority tells us we have nothing to offer.
While I am moving on, you have chosen to remain. For that, you have my admiration, as you have chosen to stay for at least another day, knowing what threatens your future. I hope you will not give up for you are the hope for a community that has not yet realized what lies ahead. For those who decide you must also leave in this next year, I encourage you to carry this compassion and dedication to your next assignment. Whether you stay or leave, what you have experienced in these last two years will allow you to inspire, challenge, and lead others to new heights. It is true that once you’ve served the public, you are a leader and others around you will forever look to you for help, strength, leadership, and hope.
Please know that I will carry a special piece of you with me forever. You can’t go through what we’ve been through together without having it affect you deeply and personally. I am indebted to you for this experience and privilege. I am honored to be a part of this family of public servants.