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Riverdale city manager resigns

City also replaces law firm

Special Photo
Riverdale Mayor Evelyn Wynn-Dixon

Special Photo Riverdale Mayor Evelyn Wynn-Dixon

By Kathy Jefcoats

kjefcoats@news-daily.com

RIVERDALE — Longtime Riverdale City Manager Iris Jessie has resigned her position after almost nine years on the job, said officials.

Mayor Dr. Evelyn Wynn-Dixon said Jessie resigned in "excellent standing" with the city.

"She gave proper notice under our charter," said Wynn-Dixon. "Frankly, I think this is one of the greatest losses Riverdale has ever had."

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Iris Jessie

Wynn-Dixon said Jessie didn't give a reason for leaving. Jessie couldn’t be reached for comment.

"She didn't voluntarily tell me and I didn't ask," she said. "I figured if she wanted me to know, she would have told me. If this was God's will for her to move on, then I need to get the tears out and tell her I'm going to miss her."

No other members of Council could be reached for comment.

Council approved hiring Jessie in May 2004. She was one of 63 people who applied for the job and one of only five interviewed by city officials. Jessie came to Riverdale from an assistant city manager's position in Norfolk, Va., a job she held for more than five years.

Her three-year contract became effective June 7, 2004, and gave her an annual salary of $90,000 plus benefits. Riverdale paid up to $3,000 for her moving expenses, provided her with a $600 monthly car allowance and immediately gave her 20 days vacation.

Wynn-Dixon was not mayor at the time but said Jessie became a mentor for her when she took office in 2008.

"Before I came, the city was in dire peril," she said. "She brought it up to where we are. She was a great help to me. She has high character and standards, integrity and dignity."

Wynn-Dixon said Council will announce the interim city manager next week.

"We have someone in mind but cannot publicly identify the interim yet or when that person will start," she said. "We will be able to reveal that next week."

Council meets in regular session April 8 but could hold a special called meeting if needed before then. She didn't say when the hunt would begin for a permanent city manager but pointed out that Jessie has left an enduring legacy.

"Everybody's replaceable," said Wynn-Dixon. "But whoever comes in after her has some tall shoes to fill."

The city also hired a new law firm, replacing representation of less than a year. Council voted to retain Daley, Koster and LaVallee, an Atlanta firm that also represents the city of Hapeville, said Wynn-Dixon.

"They're very nice and knowledgeable," she said. "I hated to see the other attorney leave but Council decided to move into a new direction. Daley, Koster and LaVallee has an excellent resume."