York City's former top financial officer said the city's mayor showed up at his house on a Sunday in April and asked for his resignation.
This week, former business administrator Michael O'Rourke said Mayor Kim Bracey did not provide an explanation for the request, and he still does not know the reason.
"I asked her why, and she said, 'I just want to make a change,'" O'Rourke said.
That contradicts Bracey's original characterization of the situation.
On Tuesday, April 15, Bracey issued a press release announcing she had accepted O'Rourke's resignation Monday, April 14.
That evening, at a York City Council meeting, Bracey told reporters she'd accepted O'Rourke's decision to resign and that he'd "done great work for the city."
After the mayor asked for his resignation Sunday, April 13, O'Rourke said he planned to report for work the following day.
"She told me that wasn't necessary," he said. "My email was shut off. My building access was shut off. And that was that."
Bracey said Thursday she would neither confirm nor deny O'Rourke's version of the story. She declined to say whether she asked O'Rourke for his resignation.
"I believe this is a personnel matter," she said.
O'Rourke, 62, said he "would never resign and walk out the door."
"That's not the kind of person that I am," he said. "I would not leave my co-workers stuck and wondering what happened. If I were just regularly resigning or retiring, I would make accommodations for orderly transition and to make sure that things are properly attended to, that the city is not caused any harm. But I was not given that option."
Separation agreement: Documents obtained by The York Dispatch through a Right to Know request reflect O'Rourke will retire with the benefits of the city's pension and healthcare plan.
According to a separation agreement between O'Rourke and the city, O'Rourke's retirement goes into effect Sept. 1.
However, he was "relieved from performing any and all duties as business administrator" on April 14, according to the agreement.
Between April 14 and Aug. 31, O'Rourke will remain on the city payroll, collecting a paycheck for his accrued but unused vacation time.
Then, when O'Rourke's retirement goes into effect Sept. 1, the city will pay O'Rourke for his remaining vacation time of 1,060 hours, according to the agreement.
Taken together, that amounts to more than 46 weekly paychecks. O'Rourke's annual salary is $110,250 — which means the city will pay him more than $97,000 in vacation time.
In his 14 years as the business administrator, O'Rourke said, he rarely took vacation. When he did take time off, he usually used non-vacation time, like personal days, he said.
Resignation: The city also provided a copy of O'Rourke's letter of resignation, which is dated April 28.
In the letter, O'Rourke notes that he served as business administrator "longer than any other appointee since the office was created (55) years ago."
"I have been honored to serve the Citizens of the City of York and to have done so with the help, through the years, of many fine co-workers," it reads. "Although the work has been arduous at times, I have derived great personal satisfaction from doing an important job and doing it well."
O'Rourke said Wednesday he is looking for work elsewhere. He said he hadn't planned on retiring any time soon.
According to the separation agreement, York City will provide "only O'Rourke's name, position and dates of employment" to prospective employers.
As the city's top financial officer, O'Rourke has long served as York's go-to guy for information about the cash-strapped city's finances and its nearly $95 million budget.
Before joining the city in 2000, O'Rourke had been an administrator in Schuylkill County since 1988.
O'Rourke said he does not believe he has done anything to warrant an abrupt dismissal.
But, he said, he served the mayor as an "at-will employee."
"It's her appointment, and she can terminate me any time she wants for any reason, except an illegal one," he said.
— Reach Erin James at email@example.com.