Two weeks after members of the Marana Town Council called for the removal Town Manager Mike Reuwsaat, the manager has all but confirmed that he plans to step down.
“What I’ll be talking to the council about is a transition agreement,” Reuwsaat said.
On June 3, council members Russell Clanagan, Roxanne Ziegler and Jon Post moved to place a vote to remove Reuwsaat on an upcoming council agenda.
Reuwsaat recently hired employment attorney Michael Pettite to create a “transition agreement” for his position with the town.
All three council members regretted the way the issue came to light.
They claimed failed attempts to talk to Reuwsaat about the matter left no choice.
The vote has since been pulled from the upcoming council meeting agenda.
“We’ve agreed to go into executive session to discuss these issues and see if we can work out something that is in the best interest of the community, of the town, and myself,” said Reuwsaat. “A town manager just doesn’t up and go unless they’re run over by a bus.”
Talk of Reuwsaat’s removal did not sit well with the public at the June 10 council meeting.
Several citizens addressed the council on their dissatisfaction with the strife.
They expressed support for Reuwsaat, calling him “Mr. Marana” and a cheerleader for the town.
“I am embarrassed for the town,” said longtime resident and former mayor Ora Mae Harn.
Reuwsaat would not go into specifics on when he would leave his post, what he plans to do afterward, or whether he would finish out his contract, which ends on June 1, 2009.
A leading choice for Reuwsaat’s replacement is Deputy Town Manager Gilbert Davidson, who was named a possible successor by council members and by Reuwsaat himself.
“I recruited him three years ago with that in mind,” Reuwsaat said.
Davidson said it would be an honor to assume the role of town manager if it were offered to him, but for now he is focused on his role as deputy town manager.
Davidson has been with the town since 2005, having previously been city manager of Willcox.
How Marana will go about hiring a town manager, and whom that person will be, is entirely up to the town council.
If Reuwsaat were to resign, he must give town officials 60 days notice, according to his contract.
If the town manager is removed for any reason other than wrongdoing, Reuwsaat stands to receive a lump sum severance pay of half his $160,000 annual salary, or $80,000.
Council members calling for Reuwsaat’s removal were quick to point out the good job that the town manager has done for Marana. Similar praise can be found in Reuwsaat’s two previous performance evaluations, with town leaders commending his “dedication, hard work, loyalty and commitment.”
Reuwsaat has been town manager since 2003.
He took over for Mike Hein, who now is manager for the city of Tucson. Reuwsaat previously served on the Marana Town Council.