Russell Allen out as Raleigh city manager
Posted April 17, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — The Raleigh City Council voted Wednesday morning not to renew the contract of City Manager J. Russell Allen. His last day will be July 1.
A city spokeswoman said the termination is without cause and that, as stipulated in his contract, Allen will be paid through its expiration in April 2014 or until he finds new employment.
Allen earns an annual base salary of $224,000 and is given a $744 monthly car allowance.
The City Council released a statement thanking Allen for his service of over 12 years on the job but said it wants to go in a new direction.
"Just as Raleigh has grown and changed, so have the skills needed to manage and grow the city," the statement said.
Allen did not return calls for comment but released a statement saying that he is honored and proud to have served the city.
"I have always strived to make this a better city and have loved doing so," he said. "Raleigh has a very engaged citizenry, and I hope they feel that I have been respectful, accessible and responsive. Raleigh is one of the most successful cities in the country and is poised for even greater achievements. As much as I will miss this job, I am thankful for the experiences and confident in the city’s future."
Wednesday's 6-2 vote followed a closed meeting. Council members Eugene Weeks and Mary-Ann Baldwin did not support the move.
"I think Russell did a good job," Baldwin told WRAL News. "We were just ranked the second-best run city in the country. I think all of us voted to do what we thought was best."
"I give him the highest regard for what he's been doing for the City of Raleigh. No. 1 rankings in certain things did not come by itself," Weeks said. "We know the City of Raleigh has to move forward. I will be sad that it will not be with him."
Mayor Nancy McFarlane said Wednesday afternoon that Allen has been the perfect manager for more than a decade and that the decision was a difficult one.
"Raleigh is changing and facing challenges, and we need a different kind of manager and a new point of view," she said.
McFarlane acknowledged that there were communication issues between the City Council and Allen and that both had been trying to make the relationship better.
Former Mayor Charles Meeker, however, praised Allen for his leadership skills and vision for Raleigh, especially the revitalization of downtown.
"One of his great strengths is his ability to recognize talent," Meeker said. "Also, the willingness to make so many changes. When you're a manager, it's easy to keep doing the same thing over and over, but opening Fayetteville Street or building a convention center is hard work."
Meeker added that he thinks Allen will have lots of employment prospects, saying that, over the years, big cities have tried to recruit him.
Raleigh, Meeker said, "has been fortunate" to have been able to keep Allen for more than a decade.