City Manager Removed

Just a few minutes ago, the Tacoma City Council voted not to renew City Manager Eric Anderson's contract, by a vote of 2 to 6.  A motion was passed to remove him from office and appoint an interim City Manager. (Deputy City Manager Ray Arellano)  Council Members Walker and Lonergan were the only votes to retain Anderson.

For those who aren't familiar with Tacoma politics: this is huge news.  Tacoma has a City Manager form of government, meaning Eric Anderson effectively managed all the affairs of the city, while the Mayor is the head of the City Council. 

For background on why this occurred, check out this thread at FeedTacoma (with some excerpts from his most recent performance review, provided by yours truly)  Just don't get sucked into that immigration discussion, it's not going anywhere.

 Excerpts from Anderson's 2011 performance review, reposted from FeedTacoma: (in a very long thread that I'm not going to make you wade through, but you can read it here.)

From various "Needs Improvement" sections

There is major concern about economic development leadership by the City Manager and at the Senior Management level. Actions seem more reactive than proactive, and there is no clear description of how the City's ED Department interacts with the Tacoma Pierce County Economic Development Board, the Chamber of Commerce and each of their respective roles.

There is the impression that staffing is not balanced to best meet the needs of the City. Some departments are completely over-worked and understaffed, while others have too many employees without enough work to keep them busy. This erodes the concept of a high performing government.

The Shoreline Master Planning process has been disappointing for some council members. City staff has unnecessarily agitated and frustrated various stakeholders by proffering plans and ideas later deemed inconsistent or with incorrect information. While some of this has been corrected, it appears the CM either was unaware or unwilling to act more promptly to correct these issues.

Employee complaints about management are minimal; those who do complain, however, sometimes express apprehension. CM must create an internal culture that allows and encourages employees to freely share their opinions and ideas

The CM is using a growing reliance on deferred expenditures that may present several difficulties for budgets in the future. There is an appreciation for solid budget discipline. Council priorities should be the CM's top priorities....Though a report was completed on City facility needs, funding of deferred maintenance (which is now overdue) is a challenge.

Some Council members rate the relationship between the CM and Council as good, but in decline. Communication to Council is perceived as a serious weakness with significant room for improvement and opportunity to repair relationships.

The CM must do a better job of providing the Council with timely, complete and accurate information. Some Council members feel that choices presented to council for policy making decisions are used to frame and strengthen pre-determined decisions, with little room for council deliberation and research.

The City Council requested an urban design plan at the 2010 council retreat to assist with economic development and transportation planning. As of July 2011, the process has yet to be initiated.

Long-term economic development strategic planning is weak and execution is a hodgepodge of efforts. It often feels as though the city lacks innovation and is stuck in a decades old model built on subsidies and free parking. We must do more to differentiate ourselves and tell our story to compete on a national and international level, not with just local and regional municipalities

Several Council Members believe the Community Relations Department is reactive rather than proactive and needs a communication plan. Such a plan was requested by Council during the CM's previous evaluation. To date, nothing has been delivered.

I should add that the "commendations" sections under each subject heading were nearly as long. Don't interpret these snippets as the whole picture.