Humphress resigns

Willard city manager stepping down after being asked by council to do so.
Aaron Krause
Sep 2, 2014


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."



Brian must of got tired standing on his feet @ the drive up teller window @ City Hall. Rehire Joe Rohrbach for mayor. You got my vote Joe Joe


Hump less was a good manager, what a shame. Politics for ya


Well if that's his real last name, hopefully in retirement he can do something about that.


Now we just got a sheriff to rid ourselves of then the county can start to rebuild.


Know what day it is? It's NOT HUMPress' Day!

Fibber Mcgee

Too bad for the Blossom City, it won't be long till you will hate the new guy or gal.


Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights).


Ricky Branham for city manager!


NO! NO! NO! Council did not rid us of Humphress just to open up a spot for Ricky. Council needs to review the City Charter and either eliminate the honorary Mayor position so that the new City Manager, when hired, can do his job without the good ole boys running everything from behind the scenes. We need somebody that is not on Shininger's List.


Isnt the honor mayor just an ambassador for the city? Ricky for CM was joke, he already has a good job with the school.

former Willardite

I have to agree with you. I was in Willard a couple months ago and couldn't believe the condition of the streets everywhere! It was quite sad, and I am surprised at the rate this once great "City of Blossoms" has deteriorated.

Hopefully Willard will find a suitable replacement for Humphress and I'm guessing that his "resignation" wasn't completely voluntary? Could city council have been holding his retirement package over his head?


Wow. Why was my comment removed?


Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Off-topic comments.

former Willardite

Amen brother!!


Cary Ashby removed my post because his feelings got hurt not because it was off-topic. Off-topic?..funny Cary, funny. You removed the post because I poked fun at you. And really with the "Off-topic"? Off-topic, like when you include "formally of Willard" in an article about someone who did something bad that now lives in Shelby, or Norwalk, or Mansfield or wherever else? Because you do that daily and that's pretty off-topic. Who do we report you to for your comments to be reviewed? I guess when the hammer hits the nail on the head, the head deletes the post. Don't take your inabilities to be able to CORRECTLY do your job out on my post. That's four times now you've deleted post over me poking fun at you. You can't just go deleting post the rest of your life. Get better at your job, quit with the yellow journalism, quit with the half butt reported stories and quit taking personal jabs at Willard. Everything I've talked about concerning your article was 100% true. I add in one little thing and my post is deleted. I also feel you might have deleted my post because it contained more information (from better sources) and less hearsay than your article did. I really hope in the future you quit deleting my post, even when they get a little "off-topic" (or hurt your feelings). Sadly enough, this post probably won't live to see tomorrow.

Tori storm

not a Carl Ashby fan huh?


Fun fact; Do you know how you come up with the name Cary? By putting together Mary and Charles. (That's a fact, not an opinion and since the question was about Cary it is also not off-topic).

If I really wrote something that was that bad and not true then why was it taken off for being off-topic? Why wasn't the reason for it to be removed something different? Its pretty sad when the paper is the one silencing people and their opinions. The really sad thing is that my opinions were fact based and there was nothing untrue or off-topic about them. Seriously look at everything he could have said it was; is unlawful, defamatory, threatening, harassing, abusive, libelous, invasive of privacy or publicity rights, vulgar, obscene, pornographic, profane, lewd, lascivious, excessively violent, or otherwise objectionable. But it was simply off-topic? Yeah, okay.

What really grinds my gears is that this article is about my hometown. I love Willard and always will. Sure it needs a lot of help right now but getting rid of Brian was a move in the right direction. The city is slowly starting to look better and there have been some big moves made to keep jobs in Willard. RRD is doing great, MTD is doing great, Pepperidge is doing great, Guardian is doing great, CSXT is moving more freight than ever before. Willard is moving in the right direction and is starting to really shape up.


All the factories are doing great, but unfortunately they all hire part time work at minimum wage and no benefits...


I think city council needs to strike while the iron is hot with our city streets. Rally behind a new CM and take the roads to a vote again. Humphress turned so many voters off that can be turned back on again throughout solid leadership.


Re: "$2.8 billion building for less than $1.4 million,"

@ NR:

A typo? If not, I gotta get to Willard and see this impressive fire house.


Its the old AEP building just off of 224 can't miss it!


Even more impressive is the $1 million snorkel truck they bought new a couple years ago. The tallest building in Willard might be 3 stories, this thing is for skyscrapers but boys need there toys.


I'm pretty sure you would rather be a 100 ft above a burning 3 story building than only 75 ft above and be right in the smoke and fire. 100 ft will get you over a building that the rig may not be able to get close to due to street or fire conditions. That tower can also extend a 100 ft horizontaly and be used in rescue situations. Its also a light tower for scene lighting. It servers its purpose well.


It wasn't a million dollars and its not a snorkel. Your comment shows you know nothing on the subject.


Are you putting your life on the line, for others, on a daily basis? If not, then how dare you call the equipment they use toys!! That updated equipment is needed to keep the community and themselves safe!


Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights).


Amen..... To our council people, let's re-write the city charter. Why do we need a mayor "Ribbon-Cutter" on the payroll? Then try to source an individual that is local, well acquainted with our city problems, has small city government knowledge and give him a five year contract. At the end of five years, re-evaluate and give him another five year contract or move on. Heck the President only gets four years to screw thing up. My hat off to the City Council!


I agree but what you're suggesting is basically a mayor: without residents getting to choose who it is...

Why not just change the charter for residents to elect a mayor every 4 years?
(lol it's genius!)


I think we need to stick to a council type of government within Willard. That way they can be voted out if the residents are not happy. 5 brains, in most cases are better than 1 and you can have some really good dialog and things thought out better with 5, opposed to one person making all the decisions (pet projects). You can still have a manager but in no way should he or she be responsible for every decision being made. They should be there for day to day operations and thats about it. I also think their salary is bloated for Willard. Lets cut that first. Laws need rewritten that department personnel can talk to council and not have to go through the CM every time they want to discuss something.

As for the 8 story fire truck. Sorry, don't get mad at me but personally for Willard, I think it was a waste of money. If I bought everything that every employee at my office wanted, I too would have a business in financial trouble, which Willard is deeply in.

As for the Mayor, as long as its strictly volunteer based, then let someone be the mayor and cut ribbons, throw a word or two in and forget about it. If we are paying someone even 100 dollars a year to be a mayor who does the above activities, then lets just do away with that position all together. No need for it.

Willard needs to make cuts and its going to tick some people and probably some departments off but the avg. tax payer is tapped out. With Obamacare, the school levy...etc. Willard residents are paying a lot more than they did 5 years ago.


With all that being said, I still think the residents can rally off of this and get behind a road levy and pass it. With BH gone, I know many feel like things are changing for the better.