ITHACA, N.Y.—After five years at the position, City of Ithaca Chief of Staff Dan Cogan has announced that he is resigning his position, effective at the beginning of May.

Cogan made the announcement via an email to City Hall staff and Ithaca officials on Tuesday morning. He was officially appointed the Chief of Staff on May 1, 2016, after having spent 10 years on Common Council and six years in the reserve Active Mayor role under former Mayor Carolyn Peterson. His profession at the time was as an engineer with Taitem Engineering.

Though the city is going through a time of turmoil over the recently introduced proposal to replace the Ithaca Police Department with two divisions of armed and unarmed community safety and community solutions workers, among other recommendations, Cogan’s note does not mention that as a reason for his departure. It actually seems as if his decision is something that has been known for quite some time in the mayor’s office.

“I told the mayor in the fall that I would likely be moving on before the end of 2021,” Cogan wrote. “Come May it will be five years since starting in this position, and this June marks twenty years since I announced my first run for Common Council. The timing for my departure feels right.”

In an interview with The Ithaca Voice, Cogan said he was looking for new challenges and to “freshen things up a bit,” though he didn’t close the door on remaining involved with government work in some way going forward. Acknowledging the timing of the announcement, he clearly stated that his decision is not related to the public safety reform effort.

“i was having conversations with the mayor last fall that I was heading in this direction, and as I thought about it more, my five year anniversary felt like a pretty good time,” Cogan said. “I realize people may draw those conclusions, but the release of the Reimagining report is not what’s driving my decision.”

He also said that he may be involved in the search for a replacement and perhaps training them, in the pursuit of a smooth transition. Cogan named the recently announced Snow Angels app as one of his prouder moments, as well as his communications work in dealing with the manganese water situation when he first took the position, the ice dam flooding that unfolded in 2018, plus the recent removal of the White Settlers Monument in DeWitt Park.

The email ends with a note of appreciation for the work Cogan has been able to do with the rest of the recipients of the email. He did not announce future plans in the email, but did say that he would be interested in re-entering the engineering workforce.

“This has been an extremely difficult decision, because I love the work we do,” he continued. “The multifaceted nature of local government is endlessly interesting, and our work has a profound impact on people’s lives and on the community where I live. My time as Chief of staff has been some of the most rewarding and enriching of my career.”

Matt Butler

Matt Butler is the Education & Public Health Reporter at the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached by email at mbutler@ithacavoice.com