Head of Aspen-Pitkin Couny Housing Authority since 2015 resigns, effective immediately
Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority’s executive director resigned Wednesday after months of tension with his superiors over government structure and decision-making.
In a news release issued Wednesday afternoon, the city of Aspen said Mike Kosdrosky’s resignation was effective immediately. Kosdrosky, who will retain benefits through Aug. 25, declined to comment Wednesday beyond his prepared remarks in the news release.
“It has been an honor to serve Aspen and Pitkin County for the last five and half years,” Kosdrosky’s statement said. “During my tenure I spearheaded a state-of-the-art housing information management system and (brought) APCHA fully into the digital information age. I also prioritized compliance and enforcement, helping save the community more than $30 million in new development costs, and worked regionally to assist broader housing goals for the valley, including negotiating agreements to build over 100 new affordable rental units in Aspen and Basalt.”
Assistant City Manager Diane Foster will serve as ACHA’s interim director “with a continual focus on the modernization of systems and implementation of APCHA’s strategic plan, while a recruitment process moves forward,” the news release said.
The city’s release also included a statement from City Manager Sara Ott, who said, “Mike has worked on systems that help APCHA function and his focus on compliance has been a win for all of Aspen and Pitkin County because it protects the integrity of this valuable housing system.”
Kosdrosky was APCHA’s executive director since January 2015. His annual salary was $112,340, according to city spokeswoman Mitzi Rapkin.
In a two-paragraph resignation letter dated Aug. 12 to Ott, Kosdrosky wrote: “Please accept this letter as my official resignation as Executive Director of the Aspen Pitkin County Housing Authority (APCHA).
“My last day as a full-time benefited employee will be Tuesday, August 25, 2020. I wish to thank the great people of Aspen and Pitkin County for allowing me to serve them for the last five and a half years.”
As part of a severance agreement with the city, Kosdrosky will receive $43,205 and get paid time through Aug. 25, during which time “you are to continue to refrain from contacting City employees, media, Pitkin County staff along with the APCHA board members.”
Ott provided the severance agreement to The Aspen Times on Wednesday evening in response to an inquiry about his exit arrangement. The agreement also stipulates that Kosdrosky cannot sue the city, county or APCHA over his employment.
“You acknowledge that the City denies that it owes you anything and that you recognize that there is a bona fide dispute between you and the City,” the agreement said.
Kosdrosky also cannot seek future employment with the city, under terms of the agreement.
“You will not apply for or in any manner seek employment in any position or otherwise work, including as a volunteer or an independent contractor, in any capacity for or with the City of Aspen,” the agreement said.
Kosdroky previously had aired frustration with the city and APCHA over his pipeline of communications with them, and to whom he should actually report.
In a November article in The Aspen Times, Kosdrosky was quoted as telling board members that the situation made his job “untenable. It’s getting to the point where I could never recommend this job to anybody because of the governance structure.”
Later that same month, the Summit Daily News reported Kosdrosky was a finalist for the town manager in Dillon, a job he turned down.
APCHA is recognized as a department of the municipal government, and Kosdrosky had reported to Ott as part the revision of intragovernmental agreement between the county and city. That agreement was made in the spring of 2019.
“I’m looking forward to meaningful conversation with residents, APCHA Board and staff, Pitkin County, and community leaders on finding the next APCHA director that can advance APCHA in a collaborative and innovative manner,” Ott said in an email to the Times. “In the interim, Diane Foster brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in helping high performing boards achieve their goals and strategic plans. APCHA will continue to modernize and advance affordable housing in Pitkin County.”
With many lingering questions still surrounding the fate of Aspen’s historic Old Powerhouse, City Council decided during Monday’s work session to hold off on providing staff direction on moving the preservation project forward until more information can be presented.