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Officials mum on departure of city manager; appoint Pirrie as interim

by Steven Felschundneff | steven@claremont-courier.com

During a closed session on Tuesday, the Claremont City Council unanimously appointed Finance Director Adam Pirrie as Claremont’s acting city manager, and discussed the resignation of City Manager Tara Schultz. But city officials refused to say what prompted the unexpected announcement that Ms. Schultz would be leaving at the end of the month.

When asked why the city and Ms. Schultz were parting ways, Public Information Officer Bevin Handel said that the city would not be making a statement regarding Ms. Schultz aside from the news release regarding Mr. Pirrie’s appointment.

Ms. Handel directed the COURIER to query members of the city council or Ms. Schultz herself about why she would be leaving after just two years and eight months on the job.

When contacted by phone Wednesday morning, Claremont Mayor Larry Schroeder said that the end of Ms. Schultz’ employment was a “personnel matter” and that he could not discuss it further.

“It was a mutual decision,” Mr. Schroeder said. “Out of a respect for privacy, I can’t say anything more at this time.”

When asked about Ms. Schultz’ severance, Mr. Schroeder repeated his earlier response that out of respect for privacy he would not comment.

The COURIER contacted Ms. Schultz after the announcement of her departure last week, at which point she offered a brief statement.

“The decision was not made suddenly. There has been a lot of thought put into it. I have loved working for Claremont and leaving is very hard. I am going to miss it,” she said.

The city has not yet responded to a public records request submitted by the COURIER Monday afternoon.

Mr. Pirrie has worked for the city of Claremont since 2003 and was appointed finance director in 2011.

“In his role of finance director, Mr. Pirrie has successfully and creatively led the city through financial challenges, including the economic downturn in 2008 and recent structural deficit facing the city,” Ms. Handel said. “Mr. Pirrie has been the city of Claremont’s finance director for the past 10 years and brings a wealth of experience with him to his new role.”

Mr. Pirrie is a member of the California Society of Municipal Finance Officers. Under his leadership, the city has received the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting Program each year for more than ten years, according to the city. He will be working with Ms. Schultz for the next few weeks as he transitions into the acting city manager role.

“This decision was mutually agreed upon between Ms. Schultz and the city council. The city council is focused on the future of the city and will look for a permanent replacement for Ms. Schultz in November,” the city wrote in an October 7 news release announcing that Ms. Schultz was leaving.

The council expressed praise for her tenure.

“The city council would like to express its appreciation to Ms. Schultz for her hard work and dedication to the city of Claremont during a challenging and difficult time for the city. Ms. Schultz has been an asset to the city of Claremont during her three years of service. Under her leadership, the city closed a $2.5 million structural deficit while maintaining essential services for the community,” the statement read.

“In my three years with the city of Claremont, I have been honored to work with a team of dedicated and amazing professionals. I will miss the relationships I have built with the staff, community members, and the business community,” Ms. Schultz said.

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