The city of Bryan said goodbye to a trio of well-liked leaders during the respective Board of Public Affairs and city council meetings on Tuesday.
Council approved the resignation Cort Goshia, who has been the city’s horticulturist for more than 12 years and its arborist for more than nine.
In that time, it’s been his responsibility to oversee what he calls Bryan’s “urban forest” — the approximately 10,000-plus trees on city property. That number includes about 4,000 in the street terraces, or grass area between the street and sidewalk, and another estimated 6,000-plus trees in the parks and other city-owned property.
Under his eye, Bryan has maintained its standing as a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation.
“I’ve truly enjoyed the last 12-plus years as city arborist and horticulturist. I believe the city’s urban forestry and horticulture programs have moved to the next level during my tenure,” he wrote in his resignation letter, submitted to the city on Jan. 11. “Bryan is certainly a city we can be proud of.”
Goshia, a 1973 Bryan High School graduate whose father owned and operated a greenhouse in Defiance, said he looks forward to traveling, fishing and spending time with family in retirement.
His retirement isn’t effective until Nov. 30, and city council also approved positing his position so that it can be filled while he is still on staff in order to provide instruction to his successor.
City Parks and Recreation Director Ben Dominique said his hope is to have someone hired by around April 1. Council also approved a raise for Goshia, from $17.26 per hour to $18.51, as he will be tending to his regular duties and training a replacement.
Council also approved the resignation of Police Captain Tony Plotts, a 12-year veteran of the Bryan Police Department, who was especially well-liked as a school resource officer.
“We got a lot of feedback about what a great SRO he is. He had a great rapport with the kids,” said councilman Richard Hupe.
Plotts, known for his ever-present smile, said in his resignation letter, dated Jan. 6, that “it was my goal to retire from the Bryan Police Dept. With the events at the PD the last several months I feel it is best that I turn in my resignation.”
Plotts was promoted to captain in June 2020, but was reclassified to road patrol in October. Chief Chris Chapa attributed the discord to an irreconcilable clash in management styles.
Council President Mary Leatherman, who pressed Chapa in October for more details on the problems between the two, said she had personally reached out to Plotts in an effort to persuade him to stay on board, and she approved his resignation with “tremendous regret.”
Also during the meeting, Chapa introduced council to the new captain, Greg Ruskey, a former lieutenant for the Williams County Sheriff’s Department, and the new assistant chief, Gary Mohre, the longtime police chief in the village of Blakeslee who spent time as interim Williams County sheriff last year.
Council welcomed both men aboard and hoped it would serve the department well to have new leadership in the uniform.
Just minutes before the council meeting, the BPA approved the resignation of Bryan Municipal Utilities Operation Manager Dawn Fitzcharles, who has taken the position of administrator for the Village of Edgerton, a post she held prior to coming to BMU at the tail end of 2017.
Fitzcharles helped lead BMU during the turbulence of the economic downtown caused by the pandemic and a prolonged period without an executive director following the administrative leave and subsequent resignation of Kevin Maynard in November 2019 and the hiring of Nathan Gardner in August last year.
“If it wasn’t for Dawn’s leadership, we’d have never gotten though it,” said board member Dick Long.
Fitzcharles’ last day with BMU will be Jan. 29.
“Thank you for giving me the opportunity to work for Bryan Municipal Utilities and the City of Bryan,” she said, while thanking and crediting the board, as well as the BMU and city employees. “I’m honored to have worked for such a professional team.”