The Statesboro City Council emerged after a nearly three hour executive session Tuesday evening inside city hall and voted 4-1 to request the resignation of City Manager Shane Haynes.
Staff Attorney Michael Graves said the final details of the separation agreement won't be released until both the city and Haynes sign the document. The mayor and council also would not discuss the terms. Haynes was not present at the meeting.
As the lone dissenting vote, Councilman Travis Chance was clearly bothered by the decision to ask for the manager's resignation.
"I don't believe the citizens of Statesboro were served by terminating a man for doing his job," Chance said. "I've never and will never and can never go into a meeting and not vote my conscience. I don't feel the citizens were served by this move. Financially, administratively, collectively - the city is weaker today because of this move."
Haynes was hired as city manager July 1, 2008 and has been embroiled from the outset after discrepancies in his employment resume were discovered and the lengthy fallout stemming from his decision to terminate longtime city clerk Judy McCorkle in August 2008.
Mayor Joe Brannen said the lengthy executive session resulted from a long discussion between council members that were for Haynes keeping his job and those that were for making a change. Brannen said the council asked for Haynes resignation out of consideration for his career.
"From his standpoint it would be better to show that he resigned from the city of Statesboro," Brannen said.
Councilman Will Britt voted along with Councilmen Tommy Blitch, John Riggs and Gary Lewis when the council asked for Haynes' resignation. Britt said he voted to ask for Haynes resignation because wanted to make sure that the city manager received the resignation terms for which he asked. According to his contract terms, Haynes was entitled to a severance package of about $85,000 if he was asked to resign.
"I was afraid that what could easily happen was if I did not do that, then (his terms) could have very easily been defeated," Britt said.
Britt said his opinion is that if the council had not asked for Haynes' resignation or if Haynes refuses to sign the separation agreement, then council would ultimately terminate his services.
After the vote on the city manager, Britt floated a motion to approach local real estate developer and former city councilman Frank Parker about filling in as interim city manager while a search could be performed. The motion was seconded by Riggs and passed with a 5-0 vote.
"Some of the council members felt that based on his former position with the city that he would be a viable candidate to keep us on course until a suitable city manager can be found," Chance said.
Brannen wished the city manager well.
"I want to thank Shane Haynes for the job that he's done for two years with the city," Brannen said. "I think he's a good man, I supported him but that's just the way things turned out."
Brannen was asked if he thought asking for the manager's resignation was the right move for the city.
"Time will tell. I hope so."
Councilmen Riggs and Blitch declined to comment after the meeting and Lewis left council chambers without making any comment.
Phil Boyum may be reached at (912) 489-9454.