Savannah City Manager's exit no surprise - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Savannah City Manager's exit no surprise

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

The search is on for a new Savannah City Manager following Thursday’s “less than surprising” announcement that Stephanie Cutter is retiring from city service.

Less than surprising because Ms. Cutter's announcement was pre-empted by a Facebook post from Alderman Tony Thomas, angry that an agreement was reached among other council members and the new mayor without his input.

However, in Thursday's council meeting, it was all Kumbaya.

"Words can't express how disappointed I am,” said Alderman Van Johnson. “You came to us at a time when we absolutely needed you."

Credit where credit is due. Stephanie Cutter walked into a dysfunctional boxing match when she agreed to accept the city manager post here. And her commitment to peace and function inside city hall was evident even as she announced the beginning of the end of her public service career.

"I have decided to retire,” explained Cutter, “and have agreed to remain as city manager while you conduct a nationwide search for a new city manager."

That search will begin as soon as a headhunter can be hired.  The expectations this mayor is putting on that search firm could be described as out of this world.

"I want it to last until Superman walks through the door or Superwoman,” announced Mayor Eddie DeLoach.  “It does not matter to me as long as Superman or Superwoman walks through the door, we'll be happy."

Mayor DeLoach told WTOC earlier the search for his "super city manager” could take 8 months to a year. Ms. Cutter's choice to stay on through the transition should make it seamless and conciliatory.

That may not be the case with this new council as a whole. Alderman Thomas' Facebook post basically told the world Stephanie Cutter was leaving two days ago, and called into question the ethics of the mayor. 

And once again, during Thomas’ moment to thank Cutter for her service, he punctuated that sentiment.

"Some of us may not have agreed with the manner in which it was all brought about, but her wishes is what prevails,” said Thomas.

Mayor DeLoach was asked if Cutter's leave was a, retire or else proposition. His response was certainly political.

"Nobody that ran for office, including me or anybody else ever questioned her integrity, what she stood for and where she stood,” said Mayor DeLoach. “That was not an issue in this case. It's just one of those things where it's a different group of people, different feeling and different approach and sometimes there's casualties."

This casualty was no surprise to a majority of Aldermen. In fact, many knew it was coming for weeks. For those Savannah residents who still doubt the newest members of city council are trying to change the culture and direction of politics here: surprise!

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