Yakima Council Votes To Remove City Manager Start New Year Fresh
Yakima City Manager Bob Harrison has been terminated by the Yakima City Council. The council voted 5-2 to remove Harrison who will serve in the role until February 2. He's agreed to help a smooth transition to a new manager.
HARRISON WAS REMOVED WITHOUT CAUSE
Harrison has been the city manager since September of 2020 and according to a city news release was terminated without cause in a 5-2 vote. Council members Janice Deccio and Danny Herrera against the termination.
NEW COUNCIL MEMBERS WERE SWORN IN AND A NEW MAYOR CHOSEN
Before the vote was taken new council members, Leo Roy of District 1, District 5's Rick Glenn and Reedy Berg of District 7 were sworn into office. Council member Patricia Byers was selected as the new Yakima mayor and was also sworn into office after winning reelection in November. Matt Brown was chosen as mayor pro tempore.
A RESOLUTION EXPLAINS THE IMPETUS BEHIND THE TERMINATION
A resolution adopted by the Council Tuesday cited the change in the "makeup of the Council following the election of three new members last November as the impetus for ending Harrison’s tenure."
The resolution says, “…as a result of the change in council members, the City Council has determined it is in the best interest of the City to seek a new city manager…”
COUNCIL MEMBERS PRAISE HARRISON'S WORK IN THE CITY
“Mr. Harrison displayed strong municipal leadership skills with City staff through the COVID crisis, including distribution of CARES Act funds to local businesses and a comprehensive study of the use of ARPA funds to meet City financial needs and crucial community needs,” says Mayor Patricia Byers.
HARRISON SAYS HE ACCOMPLISHED A LOT IN YAKIMA
Harrison became Yakima city manager in September 2020. Prior to that, he had worked in similar roles in Renton, Issaquah, Ohio, and Wisconsin.
Harrison says he has appreciated his time in Yakima and proud of his service. He says "we accomplished quite a few things during my tenure. Crime has been reduced through effective efforts like the Domestic Violence Coalition, economic development has been spurred by cleanup of the mill site and investments at the airport, and City services have been enhanced, for example the Clean City program and the City assuming operation of the Washington Fruit Community Center.”
THE COUNCIL WILL TALK ABOUT A NEW MANAGER SOON
A press release says Harrison will receive six months pay as severance. In addition, the City will pay Harrison an amount equal to six months of healthcare coverage under its plan and any accrued leave or other benefits. The council will talk at the January 16th regular meeting, about process it will go to hire a new city manager.
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Gallery Credit: Hannah Lang