Tucson City Manager gone, now what?

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- Mike Letcher was fired with a unanimous vote of the council Wednesday.  He wasn't seen around City Hall Thursday and his wife told me he wasn't home. So the question is, "now what?"

Firing a close friend is never easy, but it's exactly what Councilwoman Karin Uhlich had to do Wednesday.

"I think it would have been nearly impossible for Mike to navigate for an additional year, particularly given the controversy," said Uhlich.

Effective Friday, Mike Letcher will lose his job as City Manager. Now 24 hours since his termination. The men vying to replace Mayor Bob Walkup at the council table are speaking out.

"Mr. Letcher's a good man and a smart man but he was way underqualified for this job," said Republican Mayoral candidate Rick Grinnell.  

"The council made the right decision.  Mike had worked hard, but he'd lost the trust of the community.  It was a tough decision but the council made the right one," said Democratic Mayoral candiate Jonathan Rothschild.

Wednesday nights deicison turned city government upside down.  Now the focus shifts to staiblziing city government and starting the search for a new City Manager.

City officials say the search to replace Letcher will likely be a national one.

Next Tuesday council members will get to work discussing the transition process. And appointing an interim.  For now Deputy City Manager Richard Miranda is in charge.

And Republican candidate Rick Grinnell says this could be a defining moment for Tucson.

"This is an opprtunity to take lemons and make lemonade, but it has to be a disciplined, respectful, responsible process," said Grinnell.

His Democratic counterpart agrees.

"We cant look back and we've got to get the best person for the job," said Rothschild.

Who that person will be is unclear. But whoever replaces Letcher will have a lot on their plate. Including ongoing investigations into Parkwise and other city departments.

The city still has to work out details of letcher's severance pay.  According to his contract Letcher is owed six months pay of his $211,000 salary.

The exact sum Letcher will walk away with including retirement still has to be worked out.