New Carlisle City Manager Kim Jones resigned Monday, days after the mayor said disciplinary action against her was a possibility.
Her resignation comes as New Carlisle leaders have debated budget cuts for weeks and some council members said they believe she misled them about the city’s finances.
Jones, who had worked for the city for more than 17 years, says in a letter submitted Monday to Mayor Lowell McGlothin that she was “forced” into her decision.
“Due to the hostile and political environment that I am now being forced to work in due to the false accusations made by city council against my character and the unwillingness of the same council to take responsibility for their own actions, I am resigning from my position as city manager for the city of New Carlisle out of concern for my own health and safety,” Jones says in her resignation letter.
Service Director Howard Kitko will serve as interim city manager, McGlothin said. Jones made more than $66,660 annually. She previously served as executive secretary to the city manager.
Jones left city property at the city building and notified officials she will be on vacation until April 22, according to her resignation letter. It also says Jones will be available for consultation on city business after her last day for a negotiated fee.
The mayor said she had done an excellent job for the city and was sorry she resigned.
“I would think that things could have worked out if she would have stayed with it. I understand she was frustrated with what was being said about her and to her,” McGlothin said. “… I know she had the welfare of the city in mind. I’m going to miss her.”
Council members recently made $190,000 in cuts to the deputy budget and eliminated bus service. They believed that cutting the city’s sheriff’s contract was enough, McGlothin said, but they were surprised when told in recent weeks that the city would have only $195 in the general fund by the end of the year if additional cuts weren’t made.
They were also unaware of payments involving the Twin Creeks subdivision, McGlothin said.
“It was a disconnect — I’ve said that 50 times — between staff and council,” he said.
Jones had told council members during at least one meeting that additional cuts were needed as the city needed to trim at least $250,000 to $300,000 from its budget.
She told the Springfield News-Sun previously that she doesn’t know why council members were surprised by the city’s finances and that she has repeated the need to cut more than just the deputies.
Jones reiterated in an email to the News-Sun on Monday that the city only owes its annual payment on Twin Creeks and that council members knew about the budget shortfalls.
“I say that communication is a two way street; someone has to speak and someone has to listen,” she said. “It is not all on me.”
On accusations that she misled council about the city’s finances, Jones said: “I state, undeniably, that this is a lie.”
McGlothin said Jones took a lot of abuse after budget discussions, including false accusations from the public that the city was missing money.
Council members last week went into executive session to discuss a complaint against Jones after area residents publicly called for her to be fired.
McGlothin said some council members, but not the majority, wanted her fired.
Councilman Ethan Reynolds, however, said he wanted Jones gone and that she did the right thing by resigning. If she’s hadn’t resigned, he said he planned to make a motion of no confidence in her leadership.
“It was the best thing for the city that she leave,” Reynolds said.
Reynolds also criticized her resignation letter, saying Jones took “cheap shots” by calling it a hostile work environment.
The letter says her resignation was the “preference” of council members and because of that, Jones assumes the city won’t fight her application for unemployment benefits.
She ended the letter by saying: “I regret this action was forced upon me. For seventeen and a half years, I was a loyal and dedicated employee who loved the city.”
Councilman Bill McIntire said he, too, was sad that Jones resigned.
“She’s worked so long and so hard for the city. She had the best interest of the city in mind. This whole situation was so volatile. It’s just sad,” he said. “I wish we could have gotten through this in a different manner.”
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