The City of Claremore held a public meeting Monday night where City Manager Jim Thomas officially announced his resignation.
However, some Claremore residents said they are upset with the timing of the resignation, and the taxpayer money needed for the severance.
City counselors voted tonight to give Thomas over $173,000 in a lump severance sum. City Councilman Justin Michael was the only one who voted no and said Thomas was being investigated for workplace harassment that occurred on June 26th.
The City of Claremore said “There is not an investigation underway or concerns of misconduct by either party. Mr. Thomas and the City have entered into a Settlement Agreement as a means of resolving any current or future employment disputes.”
Thomas has been with the city for about 8 years before his resignation.
Claremore resident Ashley Shaffer said she wants to know why he's resigning.
“We are wondering, what’s going on is there something that is being hidden? Is he resigning out of nowhere for a reason? We just want answers, it’s very simple,” Shaffer said. '
Multiple residents - including Shaffer - spoke at the meeting, voicing their concerns about the timing of his resignation, the money he is taking from taxpayers, as well as that June 26th investigation.
Shaffer said, "Not one person in the community was agreeing with the settlement, in fact all the city councilman except for one voted to give it to him out of push out of fear and to protect whatever it is they’re hiding on June 26 on that investigation."
City records show that Thomas' new contract for the 2020-2021 fiscal year went into effect just six days ago on July 1.
“This is a community issue. I want everything to be exposed, I want transparency in our local community,” Shaffer said.
The city also sent News on 6 a statement from Thomas that said in part, “I have enjoyed serving the City of Claremore over the past 8 years; however, the time is right for me to move on. My wife and I look forward to taking a break, traveling across the country to spend time with our aging parents and our children and grandchildren.”
The city and Jim Thomas have not yet responded to a request for comment.
Visit the City of Claremore's website to view information on the newly-named acting City Manager, John Feary.