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Parker Deputy Town Administrator Jim Cleveland has retired, following 27 years of working for the town.

Cleveland, whose last day on the job was Jan. 8, was named interim deputy town administrator in 2017. He was moved to permanent status in March of last year. Before that, he served as the town’s director of the Parks, Recreation and Open Space department since 1994.

As deputy town administrator, Cleveland oversaw the parks and recreation, cultural, communications and human resources departments, as well as special projects and initiatives.

“Over the past year, the pieces seemed to be falling into place for a change,” Cleveland wrote in an email Jan. 11. “The Town was beginning to experience changes with new Councilmembers and an apparent shift in philosophy and direction, the Parks and Recreation Department where I had spent so many years had a remarkable new director, and the pandemic forced me to carefully consider my future.

“I will forever be thankful for the opportunity to work in Parker, and the community support has been incredible. While it’s difficult to leave the organization and the community, I know it’s in good hands with the staff that remain,” Cleveland said.

The Town of Parker is in the process of hiring Cleveland’s replacement and hopes to have a replacement on board by early February, according to a town spokesperson. In the meantime, the duties of deputy town administrator will be shared among existing staff.

Cleveland added that he believes policies championed by new Mayor Jeff Toborg, in which Toborg advocated for the elimination of specific taxes, would harm the town’s ability to fund certain departments, including the parks and rec, and police departments.

“Compared to many municipalities, Parker runs very lean,” Cleveland said. “Eliminating any current revenue streams, like the grocery tax, would inevitably result in the loss of services to our community. Many of Parker’s services (police, parks and recreation, cultural, etc.) are the main reasons many of our residents selected Parker for their home.

“I am a strong advocate for efficiency in government and public-private partnerships when practical, but many of the services currently provided by cities and towns exist to support safety and preserve the quality of life.”

Toborg issued a statement about Cleveland’s departure in a Jan. 19 email.
“Jim was a valued member of the Town of Parker for over 27 years and was instrumental and really the architect of the Parks and Recreation Program that all Parker citizens enjoys today,” Toborg said. “I wish him well in his retirement and can’t wait to see what the next adventure brings for him.”

Cleveland said he has enjoyed the opportunity to mentor those interested in pursuing a career in parks and recreation and local government and wants to give back to the industry by assisting those in the field. He is also exploring volunteer opportunities to help Parker rebound from COVID-19, he said.

“We’ve always tried to make our parks and recreation facilities unique,” Cleveland said. “While other agencies may follow trends, we were always looking for ways to make Parker special. From pioneering the Fieldhouse concept in Colorado to building one of the nation’s first ice trails, we felt our community deserved the best.”