City Manager Tom Markus announces plans to resign in spring 2019
photo by: Nick Krug
Story updated 10:57 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018:
City Manager Tom Markus has announced that he plans to resign in spring 2019.
Markus, 67, made the announcement at the end of the Lawrence City Commission’s meeting Tuesday evening. In a letter to the commission, which he read aloud, Markus said that he was clear during the hiring process that he would not likely be a long-term city manager in Lawrence. Markus stated that while he had hoped that his tenure might be longer, he had decided it was time for him to move on.
After reading the letter, Markus told commissioners that the decision had not been easy.
“And you can tell by my voice that this was a difficult decision for me to make, but I think it’s the right decision for me and my family,” Markus said. “And I’ll work with you going forward to make this transition as smooth as we can.”
After a nationwide search, the City Commission voted in January 2016 to hire Markus, who has more than 40 years of experience in municipal government. Markus began his position in March of that year.
Mayor Stuart Boley thanked Markus, but indicated he was sorry to hear the news.
“Tom, I know that all good things have to come to an end, but this is coming to an earlier end than I hoped,” Boley said. “I really appreciate the chance I’ve had to work with you and learn from you, and our community has benefited greatly from the leadership that you’ve provided.”
Regarding his decision, Markus said that there were a lot of things that he and his family had discussed. Markus noted that he and his wife are now going to have six grandchildren, four of whom are under the age of three, and that they hadn’t been able to spend as much time with his two now-teenage granddaughters as he would have liked. He said that was “weighing pretty heavily” on the decision, but that he also just felt it was time to leave.
“And I guess you know certain things about yourself,” Markus said. “You know when it’s kind of time for you to make that decision and move on.”
When Markus was hired, he signed an employment contract, but that agreement did not have any specific term. The agreement states that Markus can resign or retire from the position at any time, with 60 days notice to the city.
Markus said he was trying to give the commission as much lead time as he possibly could regarding his resignation. He said he really wants to make sure that the city has a smooth transition, and that commissioners have a process that they’re comfortable with as they select his replacement.
Both in his letter to the commission and in his remarks afterward, Markus said he appreciated the opportunity to serve as city manager. Markus’ letter states that Lawrence has provided him the professional challenges that he sought when he took the position and that the city has a number of ongoing challenges to deal with, but that it also has the necessary resources to meet those challenges if properly managed.
Markus’ letter states that he is confident that the city will be able to select a qualified manager because Lawrence is a desirable place with “engaged citizens, a competent staff and an involved and concerned governing board.”
“It’s a good community,” Markus added. “You’re going to have good, qualified internal and external candidates, if that’s the way you go.”
No timeline has been announced for hiring Markus’ successor.