Former city clerk and personnel manager Wanda Simmons has agreed to serve as Rincon’s interim city manager, Mayor Ken Lee said.
City Manager Wesley Corbitt resigned the position last Wednesday, and council members voted to accept his letter of resignation. But council members were split on Corbitt’s resignation and on what should happen after his departure. They split on offering the interim position to city planner LaMeisha Kelly, with the move failing to garner enough support. Council members also were divided on offering the position to Simmons, who retired in August.
“There was a difference of opinion over who our interim should be,” Lee said.
Lee said it was his understanding that Simmons has agreed to serve as the interim city manager.
Corbitt, who was named city manager in March 2013, submitted his resignation effective Feb. 5. Corbitt was the city’s finance director for two years before being named interim city manager in December 2011.
“When I approached the mayor and council with the thought of serving as the city manager, over four years ago now, it was with the belief that with my Lord’s help I could make a positive difference in my community,” Corbitt wrote in his resignation letter to council members.
“My service to our community, and more specifically to the City of Rincon, has never been about power, position, or money. It has always been about a desire to serve and effect positive change and growth. I believe working together, and thinking outside the box at times, we have accomplished a great deal we can all be proud of.”
Corbitt also said in his letter that he is asked often how long he plans to serve as city manager. He has answered he will serve as long as he can make a difference and as long as he and the council can work together. He acknowledged in his letter that working together has become more difficult.
“I would rather step aside than to allow a greater divide to occur that could damage council’s relationships with each other and our community,” he wrote. “So, after prayerful consideration, I believe that to continue as the city manager will not serve the better interest of my family or the interest of this council….”
Lee acknowledged there were indications Corbitt may have considered resigning.
“I hate to see it,” Lee said. “I think a lot of Wesley, as a person and as a city manager. I think he has done a good job. I appreciate everything he has done for the city. I hate to see him go, but as we have already honored his request to resign, I wish him the best. He deserves the best.”
In his letter to the council, Corbitt noted the city has generated $8 million in new revenues and cost savings over the last five years and the city’s annual revenue stream has improved more than $1.4 million. The city’s cash position was $8.4 million at the end of 2015, up $2.3 million from 2014.
Corbitt added he was committed to the objective of leaving the city “in better condition than when I began to serve.”
“I believe I have,” he wrote, “and I hope we will celebrate our many accomplishments together.”
Lee said the city was making progress before Corbitt joined the staff, but he praised Corbitt’s efforts in bolstering the city’s financial health.
“Wesley’s background has allowed him to look very closely in regards particularly to finances,” the mayor said. “He’s done some wonderful things in regards to the finances of the city.”
Corbitt also said the city has improved its relationship with the state and with the county.
“His background and his skill in being able to reach out to people and resolves issues and work with people has been evident by some o the results we have seen with the county commissioners,” Lee said. “That is very, very obvious to me and I think it would be to most anybody else, as well. He has developed a good relationship with the county both elected and staff and I think he has brought us all together. He prompted that and encouraged that and created an atmosphere where it was able to be done.”
Corbitt also praised the work of the city’s staff, writing the workers and directors care about people and service.
“Though we make a mistake now and then, we/they are committed, heart and soul, to providing excellent service,” he wrote.
Corbitt said he would be available for a limited time after Feb. 5 to help in a transition.