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.