Mayor Sandy Stimpson today announced that he had accepted the resignation of Chief of Staff Colby Cooper.

“I want to thank Colby for his dedication and service as Chief of Staff,” Stimpson said. “His passion and commitment helped us advance toward our goal of making Mobile the safest, most business and family-friendly city in America. We wish him well in his future endeavors.”

Cooper, who held the position since 2013, will resign effective March 31, 2017, to pursue new opportunities. Until that date, he will serve in a purely advisory role to ensure a smooth transition.

Stimpson said he is taking advantage of the opportunity to review the roles and responsibilities of chief of staff’s office with an eye toward improving the performance of his Administration. Stimpson named Paul Wesch as Acting Chief of Staff to handle day-to-day responsibilities during the transition period.

“We are always looking for ways to become more efficient in government and improve the level of service we provide to our citizens,” Stimpson said. “We are blessed with a deep and talented team, and each member of my Administration is charged with serving the people of Mobile. Going forward, I have full confidence in our team to continue Mobile’s incredible momentum in 2017.”

The announcement comes only weeks since Cooper order a large Cedar tree be cut from Public Safety Memorial Park and used as decoration for a visit from President-elect Donald Trump on Dec. 17. Cooper would later apologize for the move, but rumors quickly begin to spread that he was in line for a job in Washington, D.C.

Cooper responded to the rumors through a text message last week.

“I am focused on being the chief of staff to the city of mobile and doing the best job I can for the city,” the message read.

In his resignation letter to Stimpson dated Thursday, Dec. 29, Cooper gives no clues to what “opportunities” he might be pursuing.

“I have given every ounce of energy, enthusiasm and passion I could to you and the city of Mobile, Alabama,” Cooper wrote. “I am humbled by the substantial progress the team has made and I salute each and every employee for his or her role in making Mobile a model American city.”

When asked by Lagniappe today about his future opportunities, Cooper provided a copy of his resignation letter through an email and texted that he was “going to let that stand today” and “will talk about opportunities later.”

In an email message, Council President Gina Gregory wrote that she wished Cooper the best as he “moves on to other opportunities.”

“I am happy to hear that Paul Wesch has been named interim Chief of Staff,” she wrote. “I have a very good working relationship with Paul and I have full faith and confidence in his ability to lead the day to day operations of the administration and work closely with the council.”

Councilman Levon Manzie said he appreciated Cooper’s three years of service to the city.

“Colby and I have worked together to better the lives of residents of District 2,” Manzie said. “I wish him the very best.”