To the Ferguson Community: It is with a heavy heart that I am announcing my separation from the City of Ferguson as city manager. After much thought and prayer, I feel it is in the community's best interest that I step aside at this time. I care deeply for this community, and I believe that with our coming municipal election it is the appropriate time for the City to experience change in its city manager. I want to thank present and past Council members and mayors, the business community and especially the people of Ferguson for the opportunity to serve as city manager for the past eight years. During this time, we have worked together on many great successes that have made Ferguson a better place to live, raise a family, and start a business. In addition to numerous economic developmental achievements that have brought jobs and amenities to our community, the City has also experienced tremendous growth in social and community-oriented programs that Ferguson residents can be proud of accomplishing in partnership with City officials. I am extremely proud of our many award winning programs, some of which led to our selection as an All American City Finalist in 2010 by the National Civic League. I am also proud of our many cooperative initiatives with area educational and religious institutions. Partnerships like these led the way for a food pantry that operates out of our City Hall, outreach to the region's Spanish speaking community to promote cultural diversity, and housing and business opportunities in Ferguson for immigrant families. We have also completed significant infrastructure projects, including the City's first community center which benefits all of our residents, major road improvements, a state-of-the-art fire station, and new venues such as our Plaza at 501 which plays host to free outdoor art performances. These projects have made Ferguson a more open and enjoyable place for individuals to mingle in a diverse, vibrant community. Over the last several months I have done everything in my power to work with countless groups to bring about positive change and strengthen our community. We have worked with State, Regional and County organizations, our neighborhood associations, and both public and private institutions to develop programs and solutions aimed at overcoming our City's most challenging obstacles to inclusion and opportunity. I have worked with numerous activists and community leaders to make the City a true partner in projects designed to move our community forward. During this time I have also worked closely with the Department of Justice to identify opportunities to improve, and then moved quickly to implement its recommendations for change. And while I certainly respect the work that the DOJ recently performed in their investigation and report on the City of Ferguson, I must state clearly that my office has never instructed the police department to target African Americans, nor falsify charges to administer fines, nor heap abuses on the backs of the poor. Any inferences of that kind from the report are simply false. I believe that the City of Ferguson has the resolve to overcome the challenges it faces in the coming months and emerge as a stronger community for it. People from the St. Louis area already know Ferguson as a resilient and progressive community that is willing and able to challenge existing policies and practices for the betterment of all its residents. Our residents, elected officials, police officers, and other staff are good people dedicated to this City and ready for the challenges ahead. Although I am stepping down from my role as city manager, as a resident of Ferguson, I stand ready to assist in any way I can to help for the community's future.
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