Two days after our editorial "evaluation" of Columbia City Manager Charles Austin — in which we gave him a failing grade — and the same day as our editorial hitting his bosses, the city council, for their part in his failures, Mr. Austin announces that he will retire at the end of March. Here's what our colleagues down in the newsroom have about it:
Embattled City Manager Charles Austin announces retirement
Columbia City Manager Charles Austin announced his retirement today, effective March 31.
the past weeks, especially over the holidays, I have had the
opportunity to reflect my plans for the future," Austin said in a
statement. "After many discussions with my family and a great deal of
thought about this stage of life I now am in, I have decided to
announce my plans to retire as city manager on March 31.
"I have enjoyed my years of service with this great city and wish city council and staff my best."
Austin has been publicly criticized for more than a year for his handling of both the police department and city finances.
Council members would not comment but released this statement: "Today
the city manager informed us of his intention to retire at the end of
March. We appreciate his many years of service to our city as police
chief and city manager and accept his decision. We stress that it was
his decision with which city council concurred."
Austin took over as interim city manager on March 15, 2003, after City Council fired former city manager Leona Plaugh.
was fired for targeting certain high-ranking employees for demotion or
marginalization. She was sacked after it discovered she created a
four-page document that described employees as "hatchets," "beavers,"
"alligators" and "moats." It also listed them under categories
"destroy" and "conquer."
Plaugh lasted for 18 months.
Her predecessor, Mike Bierman, was manager for four years before walking out in frustration during his evaluation.
Miles Hadley managed the city for eight years before retiring.
And Gray Olive, Columbia's first manager, was in office for 19 years.
Steve Gantt will be the interim city manager.
More to come
That's all I know; just thought some of y'all would be interested.