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City of Manchester Chief Financial Officer Esther Greene turned in her resignation last Monday and was promptly asked to leave Tuesday.
Greene, a near-five-year employee of the city, said she had been thinking of a change for some time now.
She offered a verbal resignation Monday and said by Tuesday she was asked to leave immediately.
“Almost five years ago, I was privileged to be selected as Manchester’s Finance Director,” Greene told the Manchester Times in an email statement. “My husband had become very ill and needed a place to recuperate and Manchester seemed to be the right place.
“There have been many challenges in my tenure here but also many fond memories. I have brought about many changes and tried to always make the right recommendations for the city and the employees. My reputation in this community stands for itself.
“A few months ago, I began feeling like it was time for me to change course in my life. I have enjoyed the time spent here in Manchester but I now look forward to the new challenges that life has to offer.”
When contacted by the Times Tuesday, Manchester Mayor Lonnie Norman said he hated to see Greene leave. Norman hinted at a conflict about offering city employees a potential bonus as a reason for the fallout. Norman said he asked Greene to find bonuses of $200 and $250 for city employees and Greene wasn’t able to provide specifics as to where that money could come from.
“I’m not trying to throw anybody under the bus but I told her the old board might be satisfied with ‘I don’t know’ but this board wants to know where the money is coming from,” said Norman.
The “old board” Norman referred to is the previous administration prior to the Aug. municipal election which saw two aldermen voted out and two retain their seats. Mayor Betty Superstein lost her bid for re-election, as well. Superstein was mayor when Greene was hired.
When asked if the city could afford to give employees those kinds of bonuses, Greene offered no comment.
Norman told the Times Monday that the city likely would not pursue those bonuses at this time.
“Right now we have so many other things going on we may have to wait for that,” he said.
Manchester alderman and board-appointed vice mayor Ryan French released a statement that said Greene “was not confident that she was able to perform these duties to the expectation level of this board.”
When asked if that statement was accurate, Greene offered no comment but referred back to her statement.
“I performed my job like I always have until the end. I wish the city the very best,” she said.
French went on to say, “moving forward the search for a new CFO will be comprehensive and detailed. This particular hire is something that should be completed only when the highest level of confidence is entrusted into a candidate and when we feel we have the right person to work in a completely open and honest way.”
Assistant chief financial officer Bridget Anderson has been named interim CFO until a replacement can be found. Norman said Anderson would be considered for the position full-time if she wanted to be considered.
Greene will be paid through the end of the month. Norman said she did not offer a timetable or an official length of resignation notice but that he would still pay her through Nov. 30.