At his weekly Manager's Meeting press conference, outgoing City Manager Paul Eckert confirmed he was leaving Sioux City.
Eckert played down speculation that his departure was related to the sexual harassment lawsuit filed against him and the City two weeks ago, saying the move was family-related and had nothing to do with the litigation.
"Our children have thrived here and its just... we're very touched to have lived here," Eckert said.
It was a tearful goodbye to a City Paul Eckert has managed for the last 12 years.
Eckert says the decision to move to Mt. Shasta, California, a town of fewer than 3,400 people, came after much consideration and discussion with his family.
"We were just there last year and we said it's a place we need to move to. Ideally it would have been five years from now, meaning that the opening came up five years, but since it came open now and our family is, both of our mothers are in need of our help anyway, we think it's the right time," Eckert said.
Eckert, who currently makes more than $140,000 a year, will take a pay cut, making $85-95,000 a year. Eckert says money isn't the driving force behind his decision.
"I enjoy local governing service in that I don't get caught up and my ego doesn't get caught up on the size of the community," he said.
The move comes just weeks after a former City employee Brittany Scott filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Eckert and the City, claiming Eckert retaliated against her.
Eckert says while knows his move could look like a reaction to the lawsuit, it's a totally separate decision.
"My job is to serve the public and not read into or be too concerned about what they may or may not be thinking. But ultimately I understand that reaction," he said.
Eckert says the move will in no way affect the city in its fight to defend him. He adds city officials in Mount Shasta are fully aware of the lawsuit and conducted their own investigation before hiring him as City Manager.
"They talked to everyone they possibly could who had any understanding of it so I can assure you there was a very thorough vetting," Eckert said.
Eckert's last day with Sioux City is August 19th. It's also worth noting, on top of taking a pay cut, Eckert will be moving to a town where the cost of living is 30 percent more than it is here in Sioux City.
Mayor Bob Scott has already announced who will take Eckert's place, at least temporarily.
Bob Padmore is the new interim City Manager. He's been the assistant city manager since 2008, and before that was the city's finance director and city clerk.
Mayor Scott says the search for a permanent city manager could take six months, and Padmore is eligible to apply for the job.