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Finn Says Resignation is a ‘Mutual Decision’

Peekskill City Manager Rick Finn says he resigned for personal reasons; will leave his position with the city by the end of the month.

City Manager Rick Finn resigned from his position with the City of Peekskill on Dec. 2 for "personal reasons," he said Monday. He and Mayor Mary Foster said the decision was mutual and in his best interest. The city manager’s resignation is effective Dec. 31, but he will probably leave his post sooner in order to take advantage of accrued vacation days.

“It is for personal reasons,” Finn said when asked why he resigned.

When asked if the council had asked for his resignation Finn maintained that he is leaving for personal reasons and said, “I sat down with (the council) and we worked this out. It was in my best interest and I was willing to sit down and come up with a mutual agreement and the best timing.” Finn added that his wife lives five hours away and he wanted to be able to be home in the coming months for personal reasons.

Mayor Mary Foster also said that Finn has decided to leave on his own.

 "This is mutual and it is not controversial," Foster said today. The City Council is prepared to pass a resolution accepting Finn's resignation tonight.

Finn was hired in August, 2009 as Peekskill’s city manager, with more than three decades of public administration experience. His salary was $168,000, not including benefits. He will receive a severance package, but said the amount is still being worked out. The City Charter states that if a city manager is “removed” then he would receive three months pay following his departure, which would equal about $42,000 before taxes. Finn could not confirm if this would be the case.

While Finn is proud of his work here over the last 28 months, like development of the downtown and waterfront projects, the city manager has come under fire a few times over the last year.

The most contentious accusation by Mount Vernon resident and Peekskill born activist Darrell Davis was that Finn during a training session, a claim that during a press conference in May and again today. Davis also called for Finn’s resignation.

In August, city unions rallied outside of City Hall and accused Finn of not bargaining in good faith. Finn said he was trying to prevent the city from going bankrupt and that the unions needed to understand they were asking for too much. View the video .

“One thing that I would have rather not have had is the racism and things of that nature,” Finn said today of his time in Peekskill. “This city is diverse and there are a lot of positive things. I would say to the public, it is not a racist community as its been portrayed. It is community where things come together and things work here.”

Finn added thatconducted by the human resources consultants have found that city employees feel there is more favoritism than racism in the workplace.

Members of the public have also accused Finn of being unresponsive to their emails and requests and the City Council has expressed frustration with his management.

When asked about the tension between the Council and city manager this October, Foster acknowledged it and said that she and the council he “needs to get on the same page.”

Today, when asked if those tensions had anything to do with Finn's resignation the mayor said: "Like any operation, you have different points of view and you are going to have discussion on all topics. There is nothing unusual about that. His resignation has nothing to do with that."

Both Foster and Finn explained that he is leaving on good terms.

“The Common Council thanks Mr. Finn for his two plus years of dedicated service to our city and wish him all the best in his future endeavors,” Foster said in a announcing the resignation early Saturday morning.

Finn has been known for a “hard-driving management” style in Peekskill and elsewhere. He resigned from his position in Sandusky, Ohio, where he worked from 1993 to 1998 “amid allegations that his hard-driving management style was pushing high-ranking city officials to leave their posts,” according to the Takoma Gazette.

Finn then served as city manager in Takoma Park from 1999 to 2004, until he resigned to pursue his doctorate degree in public administration from the University of Baltimore. He graduated in 2008 and then took the job with Peekskill in August, 2009.

The City Council will discuss hiring an executive search firm to find a replacement for Finn tonight. Deputy City Manager Brian Havranek will most likely serve in that capacity in the interim, Foster said.

Finn says that he plans to take about three months off to handle his personal situation, on which he would not publically elaborate, and then seek another city manager job elsewhere.

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Philander Oakes December 05, 2011 at 09:27 PM
Finn wasn't a bad guy. He and the city just weren't a good match. He's an old-school bureaucrat, not used to the weirdness and chicanery endemic in the City of Jan Peeck. He wasn't prepared for the distractions and mayhem. He should have been more responsive or, at the least, looked more responsive to citizen complaints. He was right to take on those municipal unions, though. Have no fear, folks - The Walrus Shall Survive.
John Q. Public December 05, 2011 at 10:04 PM
Common sense says, if Finn were leaving for personal reasons, and the Mayor liked her appointee, she would have persuaded him to stay, or at least attempted to do so, and offered some way to address Finn's alleged reasons for wanting to go. (That's how people who play well in the sandbox operate.) When Foster says it's mutual, it means she told Finn, Resign and take a nice severance package, or stay and you'll get fired and only get three months. As if we are too stupid to see through her BS. This is the second time in two weeks Foster has shown who she truly is. Last week she came out in favor of the County wasting $1.9 million on a "non-profit" that pays its administrators 25 cents of every dollar -- more than $9 million a year, and whose tax returns show they operate at a profit. No legitimate "not-for-profit" with a budget smaller than the City pays that much to administrators. Foster must have read Hudson River Health Care's financials and thought Administrative Waste is Okay. Now she lies to the public by not admitting she ran Finn out of town, after having been told by others he was not a good fit for Peekskill. Some day people will wake up.
Dick Johnson December 05, 2011 at 11:40 PM
I think the bad blood between Finn and Foster is apparent. Making a public statement that the guy sucked isn't really Mary's way. Even during nasty campaigns, she never reacted to nasty attacks by her challengers. Maybe she lives by the rule of "if you have nothing nice to say, you say nothing at all". Regardless of all that, of course Finn was fired.
happypatcher December 06, 2011 at 02:08 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XcYsO890YJY good bye
JM December 06, 2011 at 12:56 PM
Being tough is very good. I have no feelings one way/other about this gentleman, but the JN reported he is from Rochester and was just living in an apartment here? If that is true, I think that is rather problematic. I'm all for mobile commuting as I do for a Manhattan job, but not a Boston or Chicago job.....if you know what I mean. For the next city manager I would hope that s/he likes Peekskill enough, like we do, to move here and become part of the community s/he is managing... and for a dream salary to boot!
john basic December 06, 2011 at 01:40 PM
The mutual agreement is how things are done in the world of business. People do not get "fired".
john basic December 06, 2011 at 01:42 PM
i agree with John Q, but he will be gone soonj and lets see who the next manager is and hope the public has some input on the decision.
Philander Oakes December 06, 2011 at 02:01 PM
Agreed. I never saw the Flying Finn around town. He only seemed to come out of his rabbit hole for meetings. These career bureaucrats are nomads. They don't have any loyalty to a particular place or any type of personal concern for its residents. Mary Mayhem knew this but went ahead with him anyway. Now she's paying the price.
Liz Giegerich December 06, 2011 at 02:09 PM
Finn told me that he has been commuting back to Rochester once a month and living in Peekskill. He will be moving back home in the coming weeks though of course.
Patty Villanova December 06, 2011 at 07:02 PM
With all the baggage he brought with him, how did this guy get appointed to the job anyway?? Just do a Google search and see everything that's out there. Then check on the old LoHud Peekskill forums from 2 years ago and look at all the links. Hard to believe that even the hand-picked search committee would recommend someone who is obviously incompetent. Why not do the taxpayers a favor-- advertise the job at half the salary and limited benefits. The line of qualified applicants would stretch down to the monument. Then given them a 1 year contract with performance benchmarks. If it doesn't work out, oh well, go to the next guy. Finn accomplished nothing in the time he was here so it's obvious that the position is pretty much unnecesssary.
Hypotenuse Jackson December 06, 2011 at 09:40 PM
Hypo agrees that the position is unnecessary. That said, he is available for the job. He can start immediately. In fact, he's already moving his stuff into Finn's (former) office (hands off those staples, Rick!). Just a little inside humor, there. Seriously, though, we need someone who can jump right in and start tackling the issues. We also need someone who looks like he actually wants to be here. The Finnmeister most definitely did not look like he wanted to be here. Give Hypo the tools and he'll finish the job.
happypatcher December 06, 2011 at 10:10 PM
Hypo, your hired, now light the match and head for that island.

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