(NECN: Mike Cronin) - A big announcement from City Manager Mike O'Brien has many in Worcester, Mass. reacting to his resignation.
“He has given blood, sweat and tears to this city,” said Worcester regional chamber commerce CEO Tim Murray, who was mayor when O'Brien was appointed city manager. “We made the tough decision back in 2004 to bring Mike O'Brien in as the city manager and I think we made the right decision.”
Murray says O'Brien did a great job as CEO of the city; it’s a message echoed by O'Brien's bosses: the city council.
“Change is always different, but it can be good also. But at the end of the day, Mike's service to this city went very, very well,” said Councilor Rick Rushton.
He got an email Wednesday morning from O'Brien with his notice of resignation. Rushton was stunned.
“I actually didn't think he was ever going to leave to be honest with you.”
“The city has changed dramatically from when he has begun as city manager to now,” said Councilor Phil Palmieri.
He says Worcester is better city because of O'Brien. Over the last 10 years, Palmieri says more than two billion dollars have been invested in his district.
“I'm just thrilled for the manager and his family. A bit saddened that he's going to leave government, but also understand the political realities of life.”
With O'Brien resigning in January, councilors say the city will name an interim manager. Rushton says they could form a committee to select a new city manager.
“There's some capable people within the administration that we got to take a look at but it won't preclude us from looking outside.”
Rushton, who began serving on the council when O'Brien was appointed manager, says it'll be strange not having him there going forward. But, he says they won't miss a step.
“When God gives you lemons you make lemonade and we'll figure it out.”