UPDATE: Yakima City Manager, Tony O'Rourke, Speaks With Us After - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

UPDATE: Yakima City Manager, Tony O'Rourke, Speaks With Us After City Council Announces His Resignation

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Yakima City Manager to step down at end of year Yakima City Manager to step down at end of year

YAKIMA, WA.- The City of Yakima has gone through plenty of change in the last year with new redistricting rules, putting every city council seat up for election and now it looks like they'll have to find a new city manager.

We've heard over the past several months that current city manager Tony O'Rourke was looking for jobs elsewhere, but Tuesday night, the city council announced he's resigning and they're severing their contract with him.

O'Rourke took over as Yakima's city manager in July of 2012, but after only three and a half years he'll be leaving. He says the redistricting brought on by the ACLU lawsuit earlier this year did play a large role in his decision to resign.

"Things probably got sped up with the court decision, three of the key members of the council that I've been working with won't be running again, and that played heavily in my thought process," O'Rourke said.


He described his resignation as leaving this chapter of his career with some of his close colleagues, "I came in with this city council it's been a pleasure working with them and now I want to depart with this city council."


While his time here was short in comparison to previous city manager Dick Zais's 34 year career, O'Rourke told us he's accomplished a lot of what he wanted to do in Yakima.

"A lot has been accomplished in the past three and a half years, but a lot more still needs to be done, but the city has moved in the right direction and I hope that momentum continues."


O'Rourke was instrumental in finalizing the contract for the multi-million dollar SOZO Sports Complex,  restructuring city parking,  and drafting plans for a downtown plaza.  


As for his future, he told us he'll be taking it slowly, looking around, and weighing his options, "I'm certainly exploring different opportunities in different parts of the country and we'll see what the future holds. I'm excited about completing the task here, but also excited for what this new chapter, so from my standpoint all is good here."


Earlier this year he did apply for city manager positions in both Casper, Wyoming and Tuson, Arizona, he was not hired for either of those jobs.

O'Rourke will stay on until December 31st at which point the city will be responsible for finding a interim city manager. However they say they plan on waiting until a new council is seated in January to make a permanent hire.

PREVIOUS, (AP) - The Yakima City Council is drafting a separation agreement with City Manager Tony O'Rourke.
The council voted 4-1 Tuesday to draft the agreement. On Aug. 24, O'Rourke told the council he was resigning, effective Jan. 1.
The single dissenting vote was cast by Dave Ettl, who said he worried the council was not following proper procedure because O'Rourke has not submitted a formal letter of resignation.
O'Rourke has publically accused City Council members of breaking state law by leaking news of his resignation to the media, but other critics counter that O'Rourke may have violated state law by announcing his resignation in executive session.