DULUTH — Former Duluth City Manager Tim Shearer was given an opportunity to resign before he was terminated last week.
Shearer, who was the first person to bear that title for Duluth after the city shifted its governance in 2011, wrote in an email that he could not say anything “untruthful.”
“First, I am not trying to be difficult or anything so hopefully council does not take it that way,” Shearer wrote in an email to City Attorney Steve Pereira on Oct. 3, the day before the council voted to terminate his contract without providing an explanation.
“Having to make a decision on the fly like that, I thought about what you said about how with a resignation I can say whatever I want about why I resigned and that the conditions of severance would be the same under either scenario,” Shearer continued. “I could not in good conscience say anything untruthful about resigning, so termination seemed the cleanest most forthright course of action.”
Shearer, reached on his cellphone this week, did not elaborate on the council’s reason for termination.
“I’ve been professionally managing cities for over 20 years, and in city management, there are times when things do not work out,” said Shearer, who took over the Gwinnett city after holding a similar position in California. “I respect the council and their decision.”
Declining further comment, Shearer said he did not have immediate future plans.
Documents obtained by the Gwinnett Daily Post through the Open Records Act, including Shearer’s personnel file and emails between Shearer and Mayor Nancy Harris, did little to explain the decision.
While Shearer’s 2012 performance evaluation said the council had the “upmost confidence” in Shearer, the files did not include a 2013 evaluation.
The files contained no reference to administrative leave, which Shearer was placed on a day or two prior to the termination vote.
In accordance with his employment contract, which was amended last year, Shearer received four weeks severance pay, which amounts to $9,697.86.
Harris said city leaders and staff are pitching in until a new city manager is named.
“Currently in charge are our seven department heads. We have divided the responsibilities to make sure we are moving forward with efficiency,” the mayor said. “I also have taken on extra responsibilities along with my Council members. We were very confident that our department leaders could handle the daily responsibilities as they are well skilled and very committed.”