UPDATE: Yakima City Manager Agrees to Severance Deal - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

UPDATE: Yakima City Manager Agrees to Severance Deal

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YAKIMA, WA.- It's been anything but a quiet week for the Yakima City Council, heated arguments led to council members storming out and the current City Manager saying he's taking back his resignation.


The City Council called a special meeting Friday to discuss Tony O'Rourke's job performance. The City Council immediately adjourned, but came back after only 15 minutes at which point they announced O'Rourke would be leaving and they'd be giving him a 4 month severance agreement along with medical benefits.  


This came as somewhat of a surprise after O'Rourke originally told the council in August he'd be leaving by the new year, but then at Tuesday night's meeting he changed his mind taking back his resignation.  


It's certainly gone back and forth, but according to the city this is the final agreement.  

"Yakima is not the kind of town that says a few people are calling for blood so we are going to give it to you. It's a professional, respectful relationship and I hope this

agreement honors that for you," Mayor Micah Cawley said to O'Rourke during the meeting.


The council voted 6-0 in favor of the severance agreement, councilman Rick Ensey was absent.  


Interim City Manager, current City Attorney Jeff Cutter, will train alongside O'Rourke until December 31st, that will be O'Rourke's last day.

PREVIOUS.- The Yakima City Manager, Tony O'Rourke, announced he'd be leaving his position by the beginning of the new year, but in a surprising turn of events Tuesday night he told the City Council he's taking it back.

Once O'Rourke announced he will not be resigning it shocked council members. The meeting was originally to discuss a $90,000 severance agreement. O'Rourke told council members he wanted to withdrawal the  agreement claiming he never gave them a written resignation, and he is choosing to stay on as City Manager.


We spoke with O'Rourke about this sudden change in plans, he claims the council went back on what they agreed on and even leaked confidential information about his plans to resign, "When someone reneges on an agreement, even if it's verbal, and considerations that we mutually agreed on, it's no deal. I have to be able to trust people."


This twist in events did throw the City Council for a loop, several members were upset, council member Rick Ensey even suggested they fire O'Rourke on the spot.


The council did vote on whether to fire O'Rourke, but that decision was ultimately shot down by City Council members, Ensey was the only one to vote in support of firing him.  


O'Rourke had originally said he plans to leave in August, but he told us he's now looking forward to working with the new City Council when they're seated next year.