As Council Accepts Thomas' Resignation, Reason For His Departure Remains Unclear

Apr 10, 2019

The Unalaska City Council accepted the resignation of City Manager Thomas E. Thomas at a meeting on Tuesday, April 9. Neither Thomas nor councilors commented on why he's leaving the position.
Credit Laura Kraegel/KUCB

The Unalaska City Council has accepted the resignation of City Manager Thomas E. Thomas — though it's still unclear why he's leaving the position.

On Tuesday, councilors voted unanimously to amend Thomas' contract to keep him on the job through May 31 and then send him off with $20,000 in severance pay.

Mayor Frank Kelty was the only person to comment on the resignation or severance package. Joining the council meeting by telephone, he spoke before the vote. 

"I just urge the council to adopt this," said Kelty. "And when I return Thursday morning, I'll be signing the agreement that Mr. Thomas has already signed, so we'll have it all taken care of."

Kelty also spoke briefly after the vote.

"I would just like to thank Mr. Thomas for his time in Unalaska and wish him well in all his future endeavors," he said. 

Approached by KUCB after the meeting, Vice Mayor Dennis Robinson declined to comment on why the city manager is leaving.

Thomas also declined to comment. But when asked if he'd be open to speaking about his resignation later, he said, "At some point."

The city manager submitted his letter of resignation on April 1. It did not include a reason for his departure. 

"It has been my privilege to serve as the City Manager of Unalaska for the past year," Thomas wrote to the mayor and council. "I offer this letter of resignation believing the organization continues to provide quality services to this community.

"I greatly appreciate the opportunity and privileges I have enjoyed leading a dedicated team of city employees," he continued. "I want to personally thank the elected officials who have fostered an environment of excellence. I wish the Mayor and Council, the staff and the community at-large, nothing but the best."

Councilors have made no public comments on Thomas' overall work performance since he started as city manager in March of 2018 with a salary of $170,000.

They selected him for the job unanimously over three other finalists, including Assistant City Manager Erin Reinders.

For now, it's unclear how the city will handle Thomas' departure.

Councilors did not address the search for his replacement on Tuesday — and Reinders recently received an offer to work as city manager in Seward, though she hasn't accepted it yet.

Thomas' severance package guarantees his city housing and use of a city vehicle through June 15.