After applying for employment in two other cities, Morro Bay City Manager David Buckingham announced his resignation May 12, ending his three-year tenure.
Buckingham’s resignation will be effective June 26, according to a statement from the city. Until then, Buckingham will be on paid administrative leave in accordance with his employment terms.
The resignation comes after Buckingham had already been seeking a new job. In the past six months he’d been vying for city manager positions in Whitefish, Mont., and Vail, Colo.
Buckingham has previously stated that he enjoyed working for Morro Bay and could see he and his family living in the area for 15 years—a sentiment that puzzled Morro Bay Mayor Jamie Irons as Buckingham sought employment elsewhere.
“In some part it’s a mixed message, if you can see yourself staying here but you’re looking for another job, it’s a hard one to reconcile with,” Irons said.
Buckingham’s inquiries for other employment were discussed in Buckingham’s recent closed session evaluation, according to the city’s statement.
“Both the council and Buckingham agreed that this was a good time for a change,” the statement read.
In December of last year Buckingham was a finalist for a city manager position in Whitefish but was not chosen. Earlier this month he was one of two finalists for the position of town manager in Vail, but the town opted to reopen the application process.
Buckingham did not respond to New Times’ request for comment as of press time.
Irons said he and the city are appreciative of the projects and upgrades that Buckingham worked on.
“There’s been a lot of accomplishments under Dave’s leadership, and we’re grateful for that. There’s no doubt he’s had an impact,” Irons said.
Some of Buckingham’s most notable accomplishments include establishing the city’s first strategic planning and building framework, implementing a 10-year budget forecast, overseeing the city’s first general plan rewrite in 27 years, and helping secure a $7 million federal grant for dredging the Morro Bay harbor.
However, Buckingham’s exit occurs as Morro Bay is still working on one of its biggest projects to date, the estimated $150 million Water Reclamation Facility. With Buckingham’s departure, it’s now up to Morro Bay to begin the search for a new top administrator to help steer the project to completion.
“We need to take on the responsibility of looking for a new city manager, which is not going to be necessarily easy or fun, but we’ll have to determine the next leadership role,” Irons said.