The GIBA board of directors held an emergency meeting on Friday, April 19. The meeting was called to discuss the resignation, which took place on Wednesday, April 17.
That afternoon Cooper delivered his letter of resignation to Board Chairman David Hayes. The letter, which came as a complete surprise, simply referenced “personal reasons” as the cause of resignation.Hayes asked Accounting Manager Kathy Banson-Verrico to step in as the temporary executive director. By the time of Friday’s meeting a plan had been laid out to keep operations at the authority running smoothly, and the board unanimously voted to ask Banson-Verrico to act as interim director.
Banson-Verrico is a 14-year GIBA employee, and has had a role in the day-to-day and long-term planning of the organization for several years.
“I have every confidence in Kathy,” said Hayes. “She knows what is going on, and every question I have had over the last two days she has either known the answer or known where to find it.”
Banson-Verrico will remain in the position until the board completes its search for a permanent replacement for Cooper.
Cooper’s resignation comes at a critical time for GIBA, as they are negotiating several contracts, including that for the new swing bridge, over the next few months.
When asked how her first week as executive director was going, Banson-Verrico had good news and a message for the community.
“Things are going well,” she said. “I want to reassure the community that I will do my best to guarantee the bridge projects are completed on time and on budget. I have been the accounting manager at the bridge authority for 14 years. I have been involved in all day-to-day operations, as well as the financing and capital projects both past and present.
“I truly appreciate the opportunity to lead this excellent team and I want to let you know I am up to the challenge.”
Banson-Verrico plans to apply for the permanent position as executive director.
“I enjoy my work and the people I work with, and would welcome the opportunity to continue on,” she said.
The next full GIBA board meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, May 15, at 1:30 p.m. in the Woman’s Club Room of the Boca Grande Community Center.
See page 6 for a farewell letter to the community from Jim Cooper.
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