Howell City Manager Shea Charles has resigned.

The surprise announcement was made at the end of Monday night’s City Council meeting and followed a closed session related to the city manager performance review. A memo from Charles in the agenda packet stated he was requesting that his performance review be conducted in closed session, pursuant to Michigan’s Open Meetings Act. There was a somber tone as members returned from the closed session, which lasted over an hour. Council unanimously voted to accept the resignation with regret, but also gratitude for his 15 years of service. Also included in the motion was approval of a 12-month severance agreement.

Mayor Nick Proctor said he and Charles had, “one hell of a great working relationship” and he supported the motion, but with reservations. That sentiment was echoed by Mayor Pro-Tem Steve Manor, who said he was deeply saddened that Charles was leaving as the city had made tremendous gains, strides and progress during his tenure, further commending Charles for bringing together an excellent staff. Councilman Randy Greene also said he would accept the resignation but only because those were the wishes of the city manager, otherwise he would be absolutely opposed.

Charles has served in the role since June 2004 and is credited with helping shape the City into what it is today. There was no indication of anything during the meeting until Council held a lengthy executive session at the end that was labeled city manager performance review on the agenda. Council just conducted the city manager evaluation in February, which was favorable and a 2.5% wage increase for Charles was unanimously approved. It was mentioned during the meeting that the resignation was so Charles could pursue new professional opportunities. However, Charles politely declined to comment on the reason for his resignation or his future plans. (JM/JK)