Fresh on the heels of the resignation of council member Kay Piper, Porterdale City Manager Tom Fox turned in his resignation at a called meeting Tuesday evening.
Fox, who has been city manager since June and was employed by the Porterdale Police Department from 1997 until 2008, said his resignation would take effect Nov. 28.
“The reason I resigned is because I respectfully disagree with several decisions the council has made and I can no longer serve in a toxic environment created by the elected officials,” he said.
According to Fox he feels he currently has no job security and the situation in the city is unstable. He said that if offered a contract from the council he would likely reconsider his resignation.
According to councilmember Linda Finger, the council’s charter does not allow the council to offer anyone a contract and Fox’s job as city manager is served at the pleasure of the council and can be changed at any time.
“In order to do that we would have to rewrite the charter and Tom should know that,” she said.
Finger also said she was surprised with Fox’s announcement Tuesday.
“He said there was turmoil,” she said. “I think that he just doesn’t like to be asked any questions. This is how he chooses to deal with it and I’m fine with that. The city will not miss a beat as far as I’m concerned.”
She continued, saying “We [the council] make all the decisions anyway and it’s his job to carry out our policy. We have had a lot of controversy with that. When the council makes a vote it should be carried out immediately and it is not… Other than the police department, we have been following his recommendations on what we do so I don’t know what he’s unhappy about.”
Mayor Bobby Hamby seemed to disagree, saying he hoped Fox would reconsider and that if he did not it would be a tremendous loss to the city.
“As city manager he runs the day-to-day operations of the city and without him we will be in a bind. It will take time to find someone with those qualifications – of course we could train someone, but it would take time. I have enjoyed working with him and I think we have worked well together. I would like to continue to do that,” he said.
“I think Porterdale is in a very vulnerable state,” Hamby continued. “We have so many things that need to be addressed and this is going to delay us doing the things that have to be done with the city… I think resigning is something that has crossed everyone’s mind at one point or another – I know it has mine – but I feel like the city is too important to give up on.”
Councilmember Arline Chapman released a statement, saying that although she has continuously called for teamwork since her election to the council this year, she has met resistance.
“I have met with resistance in the form of those who place personal power first and have a narrow vision for this city,” it reads. “Due to the current makeup of the council it has been almost impossible for the city manager to do his job due to constant interference and the threat of losing his job if he opposes the will of those who hold the majority vote.
“It is my hope that the citizens of Porterdale will take a good hard look at their city council and take advantage of the special election in March [to fill Kay Piper’s seat] and the Nov. 2009 election to bring the change to this city that will allow Porterdale to reach its true potential. The citizens deserve no less.”
According to Fox, his resignation comes from an “accumulation of events this year and the division on the council.”
It definitely makes it harder to do my job and it makes the job I do ineffective,” he said.