A subdued city manager Brian Humphress announced his resignation tonight during city council's regularly scheduled meeting.
Neither he nor city council would provide details, other than to say Humphress was asked to resign by council. The city manager and the body mutually agreed that Humphress would resign, council president Josh Gerber said. He added council has decided they wanted to take the city in a different direction.
Council member Ricky Branham referred all questions to Gerber, who provided a statement that reads "the city council has agreed to accept the resignation of Brian Humphress as city manager. Brian has served as the city manager for over 13 years. During that time, he served the city with loyalty and dedication. The council and the city manager have agreed that it is time for a new direction for the city. The council, on behalf of the entire community, expresses its thanks to Brian for his many years of service to the Willard community and its citizens."
Humphress said he's never been a person to brag, but in a resolved tone, he mentioned a list of accomplishments he said got done once he became Willard's city manager.
Humphress said he's most proud of doubling the size of the city's parks, building a soccer complex with no city tax dollars, acquiring a new fire station -- a $2.8 million building for less than $1.4 million, sprucing up downtown through revitalization funds, seeing the U.S. 224 widening project almost through completion, helping Pepperidge Farm expand twice and working to bring a milling company to town. Humphress said that's a project he's been working on for six years.
The outgoing city manager said he also brought in $2 million in grants, donations and funds for various purposes and got Pepperidge Farm to fund the annual Concerts in the Park.
Humphress said when he came on board 13 years ago, workers compensation costs were "flying through the roof." At this point, the city is receiving discounts on workers compensation, finance director Sue Johnson said.
Humphress also said he's proud of promoting management training for department heads starting their tenure and budgeting for projects ahead of time.
"I am proud of what I've done here," he said. "I'm proud of the things that I've accomplished. I've given this town my commitment to do the best that I can."
Humphress said one regret he has is when he started the job, he didn't have the resources to accomplish what he wanted to. He didn't elaborate.
The city manager also said that during his tenure, Willard's government has remained an ethical one with no scandals.
He thanked long-time councilman Solon Kousma for always having a "good word" for him and mayor Todd Shininger for giving him advice and listening to him. In Willard, the mayor is a ceremonial position. The city is run by a city manager, whose boss is city council.
"It is with deep regret that I hereby submit my resignation from the position of city manager, effective Friday, Sept. 19, 2014," Humphress wrote in a resignation letter dated Sept. 2. "I would like to thank the city council of 2001 for putting their faith in me and hiring me and to the citizens of Willard for allowing me to be their city manager. It has been one of the greatest honors and privileges of my life. My best wishes to the city in its future endeavors."