ROCK ISLAND, Ill. (KWQC) – Rock Island City Council accepted the resignation of City Manager Thomas Thomas Monday night. The news comes less than two weeks after Walmart backed out on building a store in the city, and less than a week after he turned in his resignation letter.
Thomas says it was odd sitting down for his final council meeting as Rock Island’s city manager Monday night.
“Realizing I’ll never see those same faces again, have those conversations again,” Thomas said.
The city approved giving Thomas half a year’s salary in severance pay, on top of other benefits.
“This, I think, is the best way to go, everybody parts on good terms and good ways,” Rock Island Mayor Dennis Pauley said.
This raised concerns with some people in the community during the meeting.
“You all continue to throw the tax payers money down the drain, that $77,000 should be a down payment on that $15 plus million,” a Rock Island citizen said during Monday night’s meeting.
Some noted how soon the announcement came after Walmart decided not to come to Rock Island.
“Mr. Thomas you’ve been here five years, I don’t know how much of this is your responsibility, but I think you’re taking the brunt of the load it only came up when Walmart decided not to come,” another Rock Island citizen said during the meeting.
Thomas says after five years with the city, that has nothing to do with his decision to move on.
“Being a city manager, that’s part of it, you get credit when things go good and you get the negatives when things go bad that’s part of it,” Thomas said. “I reached a five-year mark and I thought we’d accomplished a good body of work and that’s when I started thinking about different opportunities in that time.”
Pauley says he has enjoyed working next to Thomas.
“We wish Mr. Thomas nothing but the best in his future endeavors he came here five years ago and I think everything he has done has been in the best interest of the city,” Pauley said.
Thomas says he hopes to see the progress in the city of Rock Island continue.
“They’re passionate about the city, they’re passionate about their wards, I can be dealing with and alderman on a Sunday morning while I’m at church or a Saturday night because they’re passionate about issues that are going on in this community,” Thomas said.
Thomas’ last day as city manager is Tuesday, Sept. 20. He says he is in the process of looking for another job as a city manager somewhere else
Pauley says Public Works Director Randy Tweet will serve as the interim city manager until they find a replacement.