Letcher resigns--blames media, politics and Kozachik
Letcher made resignation effective almost a year from now. Kozachik would like to see it effective immediately Video by kgun9.comvideo
While Letcher says Kozachik interfered with Letcher's authority by dealing directly with worried 911 operators, Kozachik says he did so because employees did not trust Letcher with their concerns.
Reporter: Craig Smith
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Listen to how Tucson City Manager Mike Letcher, and Ward 6 Councilmember Steve Kozachik describe their working relationship:
Letcher: "Councilmember Kozachik interference in the day to day operation of this city complicated things for me."
Kozachik: "They're coming to me because they don't trust him. Plain and simple. His own staff doesn't trust him. His own staff doesn't respect him."
Councilman Steve Kozachik has never held back when it comes to criticizing City Manager Mike Letcher and now Letcher isn't holding back either, with a long list of jabs at the councilman all laid out in Letcher's letter of resignation released Tuesday.
Letcher has presided over several high profile problems in Tucson City government: among them, the rollout of a new 911 system so troublesome workers who use it say it puts public safety at risk; and missing money in Parkwise, the department that handles the parking meters.
Now he's sent council a resignation letter complaining about what he calls a political and media climate that focuses more on blame than solutions and Letcher makes a special point of lambasting one particular council member: Steve Kozachik.
911 problems led some employees to say the system was so glitchy it was a threat to your safety.
That focused a lot of pressure on City Manager Mike Letcher to solve the problem.
But worried employees leaked out word management seemed more concerned with keeping a lid on reports of the problems.
And in his resignation letter Mike Letcher complained about media coverage.
KGUN9 reporter Craig Smith asked Letcher: "Is in inappropriate to have the media asking questions, the council asking questions?"
Letcher: "No, it's not inappropriate for the media to be asking questions, you guys, that's what you're hired to do. That's not inappropriate. What inappropriate is getting involved where you have employees going directly to councilmembers, not talking to the city manager, not talking to their supervisors and we're not getting the information we need to be able to get the problem fixed. That's inappropriate."
And when he talks about inappropriate, Letcher's letter makes it clear he's talking about how 911 workers took their complaints to Councilmember Steve Kozachik and how Kozachik pushed him hard on other issues.
In a roughly six page letter, four pages have multiple references to "Ward Six Councilmember"---that's Kozachik.
Kozachik says, "He's acting like a wounded animal who's just lashing out at this point and that's unfortunate because this doesn't have to be personalized. He had a problem with 911. He wouldn't listen to me until I forced the issue."
While Letcher says openness helps solve problems. Kozachik says Letcher's record shows just the opposite.
Kozachik: "By doing the kinds of things he's been doing, the 911, the gag order, telling people not to talk to anybody, controlling the message it continues that whole management by a culture of silence. We will control what goes out, we will control who talks and we will control the message."
Letcher says he answers to council but city staff answers to him and Kozachik may have violated the city charter by by-passing that arrangement and dealing directly with city staff.
Kozachik says there's nothing in the charter to back that up and we've found nothing like that in the charter either.