Oak Harbor City Administrator Larry Cort retired as the top non-elected city official last week to focus on his cancer treatments.
Cort, a Coupeville resident, is the former town planning director and town councilman.
Mayor Scott Dudley, who appointed Cort to the position nearly four years ago, accepted Cort’s resignation last Thursday.
“Your hard work, leadership, unending cheerfulness and willingness to be a true ambassador for the city have been truly appreciated by all who have worked with you while serving the citizens of Oak Harbor,” Dudley wrote in the letter.
Cort was characteristically helpful in his retirement letter, promising to help with the transition and offering to work on special projects.
“Thank you for the opportunity to serve the citizens of Oak Harbor and to work with a stellar staff of committed people who love this city and work each day to serve the community,” Cort wrote.
Cort underwent surgery last November after a mass was discovered in his brain. Since then, he’s been in and out of work as he continued to struggle with recovery.
“He’s got challenges ahead of him, but he’s got a good attitude,” said Councilman Rick Almberg.
He said he hopes Cort will be able to work as a contract employee in the future to create a master plan for Windjammer Park, a project he started just before his diagnosis. Almberg said Cort has “a passion” for the waterfront park.
Cort knows planning and Whidbey Island — as well as his Nietzsche — very well. He grew up on North Whidbey and graduated from Oak Harbor High School. He left the island to pursue a bachelor’s degree in geography from the University of Washington, a master’s degree in philosophy from the University of Exeter in England and a doctorate of philosophy from the University of London.
He later returned to Whidbey Island and spent eight years as town planner in Coupeville and then worked for several years as a senior planner in Oak Harbor. He went on to became the planning director in Langley for five years and returned once again to Oak Harbor, becoming project specialist for the public works department.
He was also on the Coupeville Town Council.