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Zimmer rescinds resignation; Stephens appointed in Ward 5

Standing ovation at Alpine City Council meeting after City Manager Erik Zimmer rescinds resignation, July 15, 2014 (Natalie Pattillo/KRTS)

Last night’s City Council meeting in Alpine was well attended. People wanted to know more about the resignation of City Manager Erik Zimmer. They wanted to know if Rick Stephens would be appointed to fill the vacant council seat in Ward 5.

Zimmer had announced his resignation last week. But there was still work to be done while he served out his time as City Manager. He began the meeting by detailing several road construction projects.

Then he got down to personal business.

“I have been asked by numerous people to pull my letter of resignation and carry on. I think the question that came to me is ‘what is it going to take’. I think back to a conversation I had with my Dad three months ago and I said to my dad, ‘you know Dad, if they let me just do my job and let me report monthly on what to do, we’ll get this thing fixed and move forward to the best 10 to 15 years. I still believe that.", Zimmer said.

Suddenly Zimmer was NOT resigning. There was a standing ovation. Alpine Mayor Avinash Rangra and the other councilpersons announced their support.

But questions remained. Charles Wilkes is a resident of Ward 5.

Wilkes said, "My question tonight after we've heard Mr. Zimmer's comments is, why was a resignation tendered to start with? What motivated that? What kind of friction? What kind of motivation was behind that? What kind of manipulation caused that? Was the fact that his review was due some three months or so ago, did that have a factor? You know folks, we've heard mayor and council make promise to our city manager that they will leave him alone and basically let him do his job. The only ones that can enforce that promise is us--the voters. We have a say here. We can issue some recalls and or some resignation requests of our own."

Mayor Rangra countered that allegation.

"Sometimes there are things that I cannot say, cannot disclose. There was no pressure on anybody. It was a surprise to me, it was a shock to me to receive the e-mail like all of the council members did. I visited with the city council and said, 'is there anything we can do to help you'," Rangra said.

And what about Rick Stephens? He was sworn in as the Councilperson for Ward 5 during open session. Before the meeting, there was wrangling as to whether Stephens would be discussed in open or in closed session.

In other council news, it was decided that residents will no longer have to pay for getting the gas company to find gas lines on their property.

Although it took no action, the council discussed moving the meeting times from 6pm to 5pm and to limit public comment to no more than 8 people per meeting.