Whittier fires city manager

Posted: Sunday, April 09, 2000

WHITTIER (AP) -- Just two months before the road from Portage to Whittier is scheduled to open, the Whittier City Council has dumped its city manager.

Carrie Williams, city manager since 1997, was fired Wednesday night by a 4-3 vote, said Arnie Arneson, a council member and vice mayor.

''It had been brewing for quite a while,'' Arneson said.

Other council members would not say exactly why they voted Williams out, though they said they have had a running dispute with Williams over the amount of money the city is paying in legal fees.

Williams said she was undercut by special interests with influence on the council.

Williams served for three tumultuous years as Whittier's city manager. She spent most of her energy trying to get the town of 300 ready for the huge increase in traffic the new road will bring.

''That project makes you an expert on everything that can possibly go wrong in the community,'' she said.

The city is not in jeopardy with the departure so close to the scheduled June 7 tunnel opening, said Councilman Tim Esmonde.

Esmonde, Arneson and two other council members -- R.C. Collins and Jerry Protzman -- voted to fire Williams, Arneson said.

Esmonde and Collins both said they had concerns regarding fees charged by the law firm that represents Whittier. On Wednesday, council members voted to enter into fee arbitration and hired another firm.

Williams on Thursday called the legal fee battle a ''smoke screen.'' She said she planned to return home to Cooper Landing and spend some time in her greenhouse.

The council could name an interim city manager when it meets again Tuesday night.

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