By Cindy Landrum  

APRIL 19, 2010 7:24 p.m. Comments (1)

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Ousted Greenville City Manager Jim Bourey said his resignation was forced because City Council no longer felt comfortable with him.

Bourey’s resignation is effective June 30.

During a special called meeting Monday, the Council voted 6-1 to accept Bourey’s resignation.

Under a separation agreement, Bourey will receive six months severance pay in the amount of $83,500 plus the city will pay health, life and disability insurance premiums and a car allowance for six months.

Under the agreement, the City Council and Bourey agreed not to make negative comments about each other.

“I feel good about so many things the city accomplished, and I’m sad it’s over,” said Bourey, who has been Greenville City Manager since 2004. “The resignation was my decision, but it was forced.”

Bourey said his resignation has been discussed for the past two weeks.

“Councils have to feel very comfortable with a city manager and I don’t think they do,” Bourey said. “There was a general sense among council that it was time to make a move.”

Bourey wouldn’t say who on council wanted him to resign.

“I’m not going to name names,” he said.

Some council members were furious with Bourey last year after he revealed the city would have to dip into its reserve fund to cover a shortfall on state revenue that put the city’s reserve fund under a mandated 20 percent of the budget.

Mayor Knox White said the city has had managers who had issues with councils before. The council is not the same council that hired Bourey six years ago, White said.

“Mr. Bourey certainly had my confidence for a long time,” White said. “But he sensed over the last several months that it wasn’t a good fit with certain members of council. We all want what’s best for the city.”

Bourey and White said there was no single issue that caused the split.

Bourey will help the city get through the budgeting process for next year and White said he could have input in how his successor will be chosen.

John Castile, who has served as deputy city manager for the past 10 years, will take over as interim director after Bourey leaves.

“That makes the transition a lot easier for all of us,” White said.

White said the city has capable senior management and a council with a shared vision, which should help it through the transition.

After the council vote, the mayor told Bourey they recognized all he helped the city accomplish during his six years in the job.

The two men shook hands before Bourey thanked the council for the opportunity to work with the city and the tremendous leadership they provided.

“There will be no beats missed at all,” he said.

Prior to the vote, some Greenville business leaders appeared before council to support Bourey, who sat quietly as they spoke.

Rick Erwin, a Greenville restaurateur, asked the council to reconsider its decision.

“We are all very, very concerned,” he said.

Erwin mentioned the many managers the city had before Bourey and said the economy would make it difficult to find someone with his successes.

“This is the major leagues,” he said. “If there’s a conflict, let’s work together.”

Frank Halter, of Coldwell Banker Commercial Caine Co., said Bourey stepped on a few toes during his tenure. But a dozen or more projects in the city were successful mainly because Bourey worked to make them happen, Halter said.

“He stepped on mine once or twice but we moved on,” he said.

David Glenn, a developer, said Bourey was instrumental in getting the baseball stadium built as well as other West End projects.

To Bourey, Glenn said, “You always did what you said you would do.”

Bo Aughtry, president of the commercial division of Windsor-Aughtry, said he wanted council to let Bourey stay until another city manager is chosen and through the transition.

“There is so much going on that doesn’t need to be fractured,” he said.

Among council members, only Amy Ryberg Doyle spoke.

She said she would not accept Bourey’s resignation and then recited a list of accomplishments during his tenure including Carolina First, the baseball stadium, a 10-year comprehensive plan, reorganization of the zoo, a downtown curfew, Riverplace, a reduced crime rate, the planned expansion of the Peace Center and the takeover of the bus system.

She said Bourey could have been more forthcoming about the cost of buying and renovating the Hitachi building into a city operations center.

“Could he have been more forthcoming? Yes.,” she said. “Was public money at risk? No. Was public safety at risk? No.”

She told Bourey she did not accept his resignation.

“I’ve focused on what got done, not how they got done or how they didn’t get done,” she said.

The council met in executive session for about 30 minutes before voting in public to accept the resignation. Doyle cast the lone vote against  Bourey’s resignation letter and separation agreement.

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Add New
Tammy Yeakel  - Citizen   |2010-04-20 05:36:17
What about the reduction in force that City employees are now having to deal
with? For a city to lay off employees, it has basically said that it has failed
in some aspect.
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