Vale City Manager resigns

The Vale City Council accepted the resignation of city manager Russ Kirkpatrick Tuesday night during its regular meeting. (Enterprise/File)

UPDATE: This story has been updated with new information.

VALE – City manager Russ Kirkpatrick abruptly resigned Tuesday night after a marathon executive session during the Vale City Council’s regular meeting.

The move means city officials will be back in the hunt for a person to fill Vale’s top administrative spot – the fourth such search in two years.

Kirkpatrick declined to go into detail about why he resigned and city elected officials reached Wednesday by the Enterprise did not offer a specific explanation for the decision.

“I serve at the pleasure of the city council. They wanted to go down a different road,” said Kirkpatrick Wednesday.

Kirkpatrick – who was hired in February to replace former city manager Katie Lamb – said the decision was unexpected but “there is nothing I can do about it.”

City attorney Larry Sullivan said the council voted unanimously to accept Kirkpatrick’s resignation. The elected board also agreed to pay Kirkpatrick his full salary for July and approved a $25,000 severance package. Kirkpatrick’s salary was $72,000.

“I am not from Vale and it is hard for an outsider to come into Vale and get things done. The city of Vale wants change but they don’t want to have to see it,” said Kirkpatrick.

Vale City Councilor Christine Phillips declined to elaborate on Kirkpatrick’s resignation.

“The council, after much deliberation, made a decision based off what the council felt was best for the city of Vale and its citizens,” said Phillips.

Vale City Councilor Monty Bixby said he had no comment on the matter.

Vale Mayor Mike McLaughlin and city council president Todd Fuller were unavailable for comment Wednesday afternoon. 

The city’s eight-member hiring committee selected Kirkpatrick from a field 12 candidates Feb. 19.

An Arkansas native, Kirkpatrick, 63, said his decision was “not a happy resignation.”

“I asked the city council to reconsider the decision and they would not,” said Kirkpatrick.

Phillips said elected leaders will meet soon to determine the next step regarding the city manager position.

Kirkpatrick began work at the city March 16.

Phillips said earlier this spring that Kirkpatrick will bring “some really great ideas. He is just really balanced.”

Kirkpatrick said he and his wife like Vale.

“There are some wonderful people here, and I mean, good, good people,” said Kirkpatrick.

News tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected] or 541-235-1003.


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