By Conrad Dudderar
Senior Staff Writer
After 22 years of service to the City of Yukon, Jim Crosby has announced he will retire as city manager.
Crosby first served as Yukon’s city manager from 1994 to 2011, then returned to the post in 2016 after more than four years as Piedmont’s city manager.
Crosby, who began his municipal government career in 1964, called it an honor and a privilege to serve Yukon citizens and the many city councils during his tenure here. He announced his retirement Tuesday night at the city council meeting.
“While having been engaged in the day-to-day business of Yukon and keeping the City moving forward and protected, time has flown by,” Crosby said.
Crosby plans to retire Jan. 22 after he turns 80. His wife has wanted him to retire for a long time.
“Not knowing what the future holds, I feel it is the right time to retire and spend more time with her and my family,” he wrote in a Sept. 14 letter to the Yukon City Council. “Given the times we live in, tomorrow cannot be taken for granted. Each day is a precious gift.”
The City of Yukon had faced budget challenges when the council brought Crosby back as city manager in early 2016.
Crosby noted the City is again in “excellent financial shape” and the major projects he was challenged with when he returned are finished or under construction. Atop that list are the State Highway 4, Frisco Road Interchange projects and new water tower.
Noting that the City of Yukon will continue to grow, the retiring city official said the current and future city councils will be challenged to ensure there is quality management and growth.
“We must continue to develop quality retail to keep our financials strong so that we can continue to provide the best police, fire, utilities, and roads to our residents,” Crosby said in his letter.
“I have been blessed in the quality and professionalism of the city councils past and present that I have worked with over the years of my service.”
His retirement letter – which Crosby read aloud near the end of the Sept. 15th city council meeting – was addressed to Mayor Shelli Selby, Vice Mayor Jeff Wootton, and council members Rick Cacini, Aric Gilliland, and Donna Yanda.
Yukon’s mayor thanked Crosby for all he’s done for the City of Yukon – and Crosby’s family for the many long days and nights Crosby has been away from them serving the City.
“We will miss him tremendously,” Selby said. “I also appreciate Jim for the support and guidance he’s given me as a mayor. I’m so very sad to see him go but I’m excited for him for this next adventure of his life, retirement.”
Crosby thanked the elected City leaders for their time and commitment, wishing them all the best.
With Crosby planning to officially retire next January, this gives the city council time to search and consider his successor.
‘WISE BEYOND HIS YEARS’
“Jim has been a tremendous visionary and leader for our community,” said Yanda, the Ward 3 city council member.
“He has worked diligently to make Yukon a great place to live and raise a family, has led efforts to see that Yukon strongly develops both residentially and commercially, and has made Yukon a leading tourist destination through many popular attractions.”
Yanda was on the city council that rehired Crosby to lead the City of Yukon again 4-1/2 years ago.
“Jim is wise beyond his years and one of the most forward-thinking city leaders in Oklahoma,” she said. “I have enjoyed working with Jim and his leadership will be missed. But I certainly understand his decision and wish him a most enjoyable retirement.”
Gilliland, Yukon’s newest city council member, wished Crosby the best after his public announcement during the Sept. 15th council meeting.
“In the short time we’ve worked together, I’ve learned quite a bit by just observing your interactions and the business you’ve conducted,” Gilliland said.
Crosby will end a 56-year career in municipal government when he leaves the city manager’s post.
Before coming to the City of Yukon in June 1994, Crosby served the City of Oklahoma City as the director of general services from 1991-94. He was Norman’s city manager from 1975 to 1987 and executive vice president of the South Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce from 1987 to 1991.
Crosby served on boards for the National Recreation and Parks Association, the Arts Festival of Oklahoma, Norman Municipal Hospital, Physicians Hospital, and INTEGRIS Canadian Valley Hospital, and has been a member of the International City Managers Association and the Oklahoma City Managers Association for 41 years.
In 2008, Crosby received the prestigious Oklahoma Municipal League Gerald Wilkins Award.
In Yukon, Crosby successfully developed and implemented a capital improvement program financed by a three-quarters-of-a-cent dedicated sales tax.
Several capital projects and park projects have been completed under his leadership.
Notable infrastructure achievements include improvements on Vandament Avenue, construction and completion of the Jackie Cooper Gym, the gazebo at Chisholm Trail Park, new Yukon fire and police stations, water well improvements, renovation and relocation of Yukon City offices, and improvements of the Czech Hall Road interchange and Yukon’s Wastewater Treatment Plant.
Crosby recommended the purchase and renovation of a vacant grocery store to house Mabel C. Fry Public Library, more than doubling the space in the previous library and creating a new place for senior citizens’ programs and Mobile Meals.
Some of Yukon’s most critical development came due to Crosby’s efforts to attract them to the community. Examples are Lowe’s Home Improvement, Kohl’s, Target, and INTEGRIS Canadian Valley Hospital.
Yukon traditions such as Freedom Fest and Christmas in the Park were established under his direction.
One of Yukon’s most beautiful parks, Chisholm Trail Park, was Crosby’s vision. Taylor Park and Freedom Trail Playground also were constructed during his tenure.
Read more in The Yukon Progress and on yukonprogress.com