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  Richmond City Manager Retires
November 19, 2003

Richmond City Manager Isiah Turner announced today that he will retire approximately January 1, 2004. He stated that concern about his health was his principal motivation for ending five years of service as Richmondís chief executive officer.


Mr. Turnerís plans were revealed to the City Council following an executive session prior to the City Council meeting last night - November 18, 2003. City Council members were caught completely by surprise, but all rallied behind the city manger and commended him for doing what was best for himself at a time that was appropriate and of his choice.


I have had my differences with Isiah Turner over the years, but I never doubted that he always did what he thought was best for all the citizens of Richmond. He listened to me and took my advice on more times than it sometimes seems like. He has also shown a great deal of courage in standing up to special interests on a number of occasions, whether it be big labor, big oil, or big lobbyist. Richmond is an extremely difficult, if not impossible, city to manage, and Turner made as good a go of it as perhaps anyone could have.


Shirley and I had the opportunity to spend a couple of weeks in China with Isiah and Penny last November, when we got to know them as friends. They are really nice people.


I wish Isiah the best in his retirement, a decision that has come at a particularly difficult time for him because of the fiscal challenges facing the City of Richmond. He made it clear that it was his desire to be able to steer Richmond through these difficult times and come out on the other side, but that he simply could not continue.


Beginning with Mr. Turnerís departure, Assistant City Manager and Community and Economic Development Director Jay Corey will serve as interim city manager.


Presumably, the City Council will soon launch a nation-wide search for Richmondís next city manager.