Tucson fires City Manager

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- Just one day after writing a heated memo announcing his resignation one year from now.

The Tucson City Council voted to fire embattled City Manager Mike Letcher.

The decision perhaps not a shocker, but the vote count definitely was.

"I move that the council remove you from the office of city manager, effective this Friday," said Councilwoman Karin Uhlich during Wednesday's council meeting.

City Manager Mike Letcher's staunchest advocate was the one who read his fate.

If that wasn't enough of a surprise, then the vote itself was.

"To tell you the truth I was moving back and forth," said Councilwoman Regina Romero.

But every council member voted for termination.  And in an eerie moment of deja vu, Mike Letcher got up and walked out.

Removed by council members, just like his predecessor Mike Hein.

"Up until he sent that memo he had that support of some of the council members," said Councilman Steve Kozachik. "So he probably needs to look in the mirror and assess if that was a wise thing to do."

Councilman Steve Kozachik for weeks had been the driving force publicly calling for Letcher's removal.

Letcher's memo made stinging accusations against Kozachik and others. Kozachik thinks that memo may have been the breaking point.

Letcher asked to stay on board until August of 2012.  The council's decision Wednesday will remove him effective this Friday.

"I think Mr. Letcher saw the writing on the wall and preferred not to divide the community," said Councilwoman Romero.

"He knew it was his time. We knew it was his time. Tucson needs to go in a new direction," said Councilman Paul Cunningham.

Letcher doesn't leave empty handed. Based on his contract, he will receive six months pay of his $211,000.

"We move forward.  I think it's good to start in a new direction.  Especially with an election looming in the future," said Romero.

Letcher's chair will sit empty for a while.  In the meantime, Deputy City Manager Richard Miranda takes over.

"We have a selection process and we're going to engage in a national search and I think we'll end up in a positive position," said Councilman Kozachik.

The council will get to work next Tuesday, discussing the process to get a new City Manager in place.

Expect a lengthy process and a national search.

The process will definitely pick up after the election, once a new mayor and council is seated.