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Colby Cooper still on payroll, Mayor says departure a "mutual" decision

(SOURCE: WPMI) Talbot said the former chief of staff cleared his office and has returned city property, but is still available as needed as an advisor to insure a smooth transition.

Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson's former chief of staff Colby Cooper was not at Tuesday's city council meeting.

That's because he's now an "inactive" employee, according to city spokesperson George Talbot.

Talbot said the former chief of staff cleared his office and has returned city property, but is still available as needed as an advisor to insure a smooth transition.

He's still getting paid his $110,000 salary through March 31st .

Mayor Stimpson now telling Local 15 News that Cooper's departure was a mutual decision.

"So where we stand is he's going to look for other opportunities just as we are. But I want to publicly say that his passion, his enthusiasm to make Mobile a better place is unparalleled," said Stimpson.

Stimpson said his team is now doing an assessment of the position all together. Finance Director Paul Wesch is serving as interim chief of staff.

Cooper sparked controversy recently after having a large tree cut down from a city park to be used as a Christmas prop for Donald Trump's visit to Ladd-Peebles stadium.

Cooper released a statement Tuesday saying:

"Working for the city of Mobile was an incredible experience that I will always cherish. I will be exploring new opportunities to make a difference in this world and to continue to be an advocate for Mobile and coastal Alabama."

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