Successful Fresno city leader the victim of budget cuts

FRESNO, Calif.

Cooper has been with the city almost six years now, but he told Action News the plan as of now is for his last day to be Jan. 7.

On Cooper's watch, the city has added dozens of parks and become a statewide leader in recreation. Among other major additions, he helped bring a BMX track to Woodward Park, and a paintball facility to the Southwest Regional Sports Complex. But the city's $10 million budget shortfall is hitting pretty much every department.

At a budget workshop Monday, Cooper's PARCS department discussed a proposal from Mayor Ashley Swearengin. The painful process includes several cuts in the PARCS department, getting rid of Cooper and most other managers. Many city officials say it'll be a big loss.

"Randy Cooper has been almost a godsend for the city of Fresno," said city council member Mike Dages. "I've always said Randy thinks so far outside the box, he left the box behind, and to lose him is a real detriment to Fresno."

City council members will still have to approve the mayor's budget cuts, including pink slips for about 30 current employees.

The city is planning to pay Cooper a retirement package, but nobody is giving specifics right now because his departure is not yet official.

Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.