LONGMONT — A controversial city employee investigated for his vocal support of an embattled University of Colorado professor is resigning, saying he can no longer be effective helping Longmont’s at-risk youth.
Glenn Spagnuolo, who is continuing his mayoral bid, said he plans to focus on his activism, which got him in hot water with the city to begin with.
His last day as a recreation program supervisor for the city of Longmont will be Nov. 11, he said.
“I figured I’d stop talking about liberation and be liberated,” Spagnuolo said Thursday. “I just felt like everything the city has put me through has made it really hard to concentrate and be effective in my work.”
Spagnuolo was arrested and then cleared over a 2004 protest against Columbus Day activities in Denver. He also crusaded against the Wal-Mart Supercenter, helped persuade the council to change the name of Chivington Drive and supported controversial CU professor Ward Churchill.
This summer, Spagnuolo was subject to an internal city investigation, accused of misusing city resources to support Churchill and other causes.
He tried and failed to stop that investigation in federal court. And although the city’s internal report concluded he should be fired, Spagnuolo’s managers let him keep his job but decided to keep him on what he considered a short leash.
Spagnuolo has been a fierce critic of Mayor Julia Pirnack and many members of the Longmont City Council. He’s also tangled with business and civic leaders over the tenor of the election and local government.
“Sometimes politics are not polite. Sometimes what happens to a community is not polite,” Spagnuolo said during a recent council meeting. “Sometimes people need to stand up. Sometimes impoliteness is the only way to get the point across.”
On Thursday, Spagnuolo said he will focus on similar issues and themes in his new role as an activist and grass-roots campaigner. He declined to say exactly what he will be doing but said he would be paid, albeit less than what he was earning with the city.
Spagnuolo’s immediate supervisor, Jeff Friesner, declined to comment Thursday, saying it would be “inappropriate.”
Under city rules, if Spagnuolo is elected mayor, he would have to quit his job anyway.
Asked if that was the real reason for his departure, Spagnuolo joked: “If I do win, that will be the reason.”
Trevor Hughes can be reached at 303-684-5220, or by e-mail at email@example.com.