SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Savannah City Manager Stephanie Cutter has announced she is retiring from her position with the city.
Her stepping down should not come as too much of a surprise. As we've been reporting, two days ago, Alderman Tony Thomas posted a message on Facebook stating he had received a call from Mayor Eddie DeLoach telling him a "deal had been reached to remove Cutter from the position".
It's certainly possible that deal included Cutter voluntarily resigning from the position. We are not yet hearing any details about the so-called "deal" and what, if any, severance package might be part of this.
DeLoach was asked in an interview following Thursday's meeting what, if anything, will change regarding cutters compensation.
"I'm not changing anything with her. We will not change anything. No, she will not change," said DeLoach.
"You will not change her compensation?"
"No, I will not," said DeLoach.
"So we will double pay for a while?"
"Whatever we need to do," responded DeLoach.
"For a smooth transition, would that be accurate to say?"
"Sure," said DeLoach.
A city spokesperson said Cutter makes close to $200,000 a year. And again, according to the mayor, that will not change and will remain the same even after a new city manager is hired.
Cutter served as the acting city manager from October 2012, until she was appointed in Spring 2013.
Each council member, including the mayor, took a few moments to express their gratitude for the years of service cutter has given the City of Savannah at the end of Thursday's meeting.
"Sometimes issues like this come up, where it is a wonderful person, and yet that person is leaving you, and you had to see them go. But things move forward and there's not a lot you can do about the issue at that time, so things move forward," said Mayor DeLoach.
Mayor DeLoach said the city will hire an independent firm to begin a search for her replacement. Cutter will remain an advisor to the new city manager once that person is selected for one year. Mayor DeLoach explains why this is the best for both Cutter and Savannah.
"We don't have to change policies, we don't have to change approaches. She knows where everything is, what's going on. She's got staff that she's been with that she knows. The city will run and functioning like it should," said Mayor DeLoach.
Cutter discussed her decision with council members in a closed door executive session that lasted for several hours Thursday. She made the following statement at the end of Thursday's City Council Meeting:
Earlier today I notified you of my plans to retire, and have agreed to remain as City Manager as you conduct a nationwide search for a new City Manager. I will remain in the Office of City Manager until the new Manager's term begins.
I have also agreed to remain as an adviser to the new City Manager for one year. I trust that you will remain diligent in your commitment to provide me your full support in my role as City Manager pursuant to the City Charter, and make the same commitment to the new City Manager.
It is love for the people of Savannah and love for this great City that should motivate us to work cooperatively together to preserve the quality of life for ALL citizens of Savannah.
I will be submitting an official letter to the Mayor and Aldermen of my intentions as stated.