Titusville City Manager Larry Manross announced his resignation effective Jan. 3 in a press release sent to The Herald on Thursday.
In the only two-sentence announcement, Manross said he would be stepping down due to the incoming members of city council who were voted into office during the primary election earlier this month.
“Titusville residents, taxpayers, and business owners effective January 3rd I will be resigning from my position as City Manager [sic],” the release reads. “I cannot work for the newly elected Council members who have absolutely zero integrity.”
Manross told The Herald he decided to resign after learning the results of the election, in which Roger Gordon, Dennis Peden and Jon Crouch were elected to the three open council seats. He further offered no additional comment or reasoning to his resignation when asked.
“I think my press release, although short, pretty well covers it,” he said.
With only roughly two months left before he leaves the position, Manross said he hopes to finish up some projects before stepping down. One is a replacement of the fuel pump controls at the Titusville Airport, which is funded through a $50,000 block grant from the Federal Aviation Administration, according to Manross. That project is set to begin Dec. 3 and the city manager estimated it would only take around a week.
The other project is the renovation of the Titusville Fire Department. City council awarded a contract to CBF Contracting Inc. to install a new roof at the department, which will serve to raise the height. This will enable the firefighters to park the tower ladder truck donated earlier this year by Lower Macungie Township inside the department garages, as it is currently too tall to fit inside.
The contract is for $217,714. It initially came in at $232,200, but the company offered a reduction of $14,486 if the city opted to use cheaper building materials for the work, to which council acquiesced at their Oct. 22 meeting. The city is utilizing $170,000 of Community Development Block Grant money, a federal program that benefits low-to-moderate income communities, to help pay for the bulk of the renovation work.
Beyond that, however, Manross said he has current plans on what he’ll do once he’s stepped down.
“I don’t really know at this point,” he said. “(I’m) definitely going to do something.”
Manross was first hired as city manager on June 14, 2011, in a 4-1 vote by the city council of that time. Before that, he was a business man, owning an auto supplies store and repair shop in town, as well as a board member on the Titusville Redevelopment Authority. The hiring brought an end to a six-month period wherein the city lacked a proper manager.
Manross’s predecessor, Pennie Maclean, was terminated by city council on Jan. 18, 2011, for undisclosed reasons, according to an article in the Jan. 19, 2011 edition of The Herald. Former Titusville Police Chief Gary Thomas filled in as the interim manager until Manross’ hiring.
Manross said it will be up to city council to find a replacement and/or interim manager once he leaves the position. He will not be alone in leaving city government, as three members of Titusville City Council will vacate their seats at the end of the year.
Councilwoman Heather Leonardi and Deputy Mayor William Adelman will both step down at the end of the year, following losses in their reelection bid during the primary. Adelman launched a write-in campaign during the general election, but unofficial totals showed only 360 write-in votes cast during the election, far behind Gordon’s, Peden’s and Crouch’s unofficial totals of 773, 840 and 665, respectively.
Mayor Esther Smith will also step down, as she decided to not run for reelection this year. Only Councilman Don Frazier and Councilwoman Tamara Champion will remain, as neither of their seats were up for reelection.
Frazier, speaking with The Herald on Thursday, expressed sadness over Manross’ resignation.
“Well, I am disappointed that he is resigning,” he said. “I think he is a very good city manager. He brought fourth a lot of improvements to our town. We worked our way away from debt. I guess I have to believe in his decision.”
Manross gave the current batch of city council members a heads-up on his resignation, informing them with an email on Tuesday. He said he did not, however, inform Gordon, Peden or Crouch. Manross said he does not plan to make a formal announcement about his resignation at the next city council meeting, which will take place on Nov. 19.
“I didn’t really think about it,” Manross told The Herald. “I think your paper will be good enough.”
Peden, when told of the resignation, wished Manross the best and expressed a degree of disappointment over the news.
“Well my take would be that I would first all thank Mr. Manross for his service for the years he gave to Titusville working for different council members,” he said. “I am sorry to hear that he is resigning and he doesn’t want to continue to work with the new council members who the residents voted overwhelmingly into office.”
Crouch gave relatively similar sentiments.
“I would say to Larry’s two-sentence resignation that 72% of the voters cast votes for change, and in confidence of the team,” he said, referring to himself, Peden and Gordon. “I would thank Larry for his years of service, and I wish him the best.”
The Herald attempted to reach both Gordon and Champion for comment on Manross’s resignation, but was unsuccessful.
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