Reuwsaat to leave post July 11 - The Explorer: Pima Pinal

Reuwsaat to leave post July 11

Marana town manager submits resignation

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Posted: Wednesday, June 25, 2008 11:00 pm | Updated: 8:02 am, Thu Mar 24, 2011.

It will cost Marana an estimated $140,000 to part ways with Town Manager Mike Reuwsaat, who submitted his letter of resignation to town officials last week.

On the same day, Wednesday, June 25, his separation agreement with the town, which the council already had approved, became official.

“I am proud of the many great things we have accomplished together in the 12 years I have been affiliated with the Town,” Reuwsaat wrote.

He previously was a councilman and a deputy town manager.

Deputy Town Manager Gilbert Davidson was appointed as the new town manager by the council at the July 1 meeting. Davidson will assume his new duties when Reuwsaat leaves on July 11.

“It’s a very difficult job. You don’t have one person you answer to, you answer to seven,” Honea said of the manager’s role.

Reuwsaat included, the town has employed four town managers in its 31-year history.

When Marana was incorporated in 1977, the mayor served as the de facto manager, Honea said.

Reuwsaat officially will leave his post Aug. 5, five years to the day when he took over for Mike Hein, who went on to become Tucson’s city manager.

Reuwsaat plans to report to work until July 11, after which he will go on paid administrative leave, according to his separation agreement with the town.

Also under the agreement, Reuwsaat will receive severance pay amounting to half of his $160,000 annual salary, payment for outstanding vacation, sick and personal leave, a $3,200 contribution to his retirement plan, and 12 months of medical, dental and vision insurance paid for by the town.

On June 3, three town council members called for Reuwsaat’s removal.

Reuwsaat said he had no immediate plans for work after July 12, but he eventually might seek private sector employment.

When asked why he thought some on the council had called for his ouster, Reuwsaat called dwelling on the past a “waste of time.”

He said that the town manager must make tough decisions, such as what direction to take to gain control of the town’s wastewater.

Marana is currently embroiled in a legal dispute with Pima County over control of the county-owned Marana Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Yet, it was “tough decisions” like that one that made some on the council unhappy.

“There were three decisions that he made over the last year that were very unfortunate,” said Councilwoman Roxanne Ziegler, who pushed for Reuwsaat’s removal but voted against his separation agreement.

To Ziegler, the town manager’s handling of matters in the police department, human resources and the municipal court “cost the town money we should not have spent.”

Ziegler was the only one to vote against the separation agreement, which differed from the termination clause in the employment agreement Reuwsaat signed with the council in October 2007.

Under that agreement, Reuwsaat’s post-employment benefits would’ve included six months’ pay as severance, a lump sum of unused vacation time and a 2-percent contribution to his retirement (about $99,551 total).

The approved separation agreement includes the same benefits, plus a lump sum of unused sick and personal leave as well as 12 months of insurance coverage, bringing his total payout to $140,206.

Reuwsaat is one of several town leaders to leave under duress in recent months.

Police Chief Richard Vidaurri announced in April that he would retire, not long after surveys of the department revealed low officer morale and questions about his leadership.

Also in April, the council fired Marana Municipal Court Judge Jim West after he allegedly retaliated against a court employee who participated in an ethics investigation against him.

Meanwhile, Assistant Police Chief Barbara Harris and the town had been negotiating a separation agreement. Harris had been suspended from duty since March, after surveys turned up serious criticisms of her work.

Harris was terminated in late June, according to Jodi Horton, a public relations representative for the assistant police chief.

“We’ve got a tremendous opportunity for the future,” Davidson said about his likely ascendancy to the town’s top post.

When he assumes the role, Davidson said he would evaluate the town’s projects and determine which ones to move forward with, a process that will take about three to six months. He didn’t know if or when a new deputy town manager would be hired.

The council likely will approve Davidson’s contract in the next two weeks.

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