Jon Russo turn in his resignation as Irvine City Manager on Thursday night and it’s hard to keep track of what to believe.
There is this YouTube video of Russo announcing his September departure. https://youtu.be/CqiVBSrBqd4
And this excellent story from the Voice of OC: https://voiceofoc.org/2020/05/irvine-city-manager-resigns-abruptly-cites-family-concerns/
Russo appears to be taking a victory lap over perceived progress in the city. His legacy is different, especially for those watching city hall for years.
He brought an entire team with him from Riverside to ensure loyalty over everything else. This includes new leaders in economic development efforts and public works with scant evidence either has worked well (I’ll wait for reports of all the new businesses that moved into Irvine and still want to know what so many streets are in disrepair). He consolidated power and forced many longtime productive city employees to quit due to his oppressive management style. He screwed over rank and file workers for anything resembling a decent pay raise while enriching himself and his team with overly generous pay increases. Let’s not forget his work schedule that city hall insiders tell me he’d leave early almost every day to catch the train back to Riverside.
While all public statements by city council members and Russo point to Russo’s decision to resign, there are those who say Russo has been on the hot seat for months and saw the writing on the wall — quitting instead of being fired. He has his 30 years in and his generous pensions kick in. And people who quit to “spend more time with their families” never seem to do that.
I’m sure the lawsuit Russo lost in Riverside over his contract and severance from the city manager’s job there had nothing to do with his decision.
When a new city council is elected in November, it’s time to clean house and get the Russo administration out of Irvine.