There was a surprise out of city hall Thursday as Assistant City Manager Mark Van Vleck resigned, effective immediately.
Several sources told KRIS Communications that Van Vleck was given a choice: either resign or be fired. However, City Manager Peter Zanoni says that's not the case.
“Some people self-examined what they're doing, like a Mark Van Vleck, and realized that it was time to move on to something different,” Zanoni said.
Van Vleck's decision to move on came after the city manager met with senior staff Thursday morning to lay out the city's direction for the coming year.
Van Vleck reportedly did not agree with that direction.
“He knows the city is headed in a different direction, and he felt that he wasn't the right person for this job anymore,” said Zanoni.
Van Vleck oversaw eight departments dealing with the city's infrastructure including Water, Wastewater, Storm Water, Natural Gas Systems, Solid Waste Management and Development Services, Public Works, Streets and Engineering. That put him front and center during the North Beach Canal discussion, a canal Van Vleck was reportedly vehemently opposed to.
The North Beach Task Force claimed Van Vleck intentionally kept information from them. While Zanoni doesn't believe those allegations, he says it was apparent Van Vleck had trouble working with others.
“Technically, he's a strong engineer,” said Zanoni. “I think given where the city is, we need someone with strong leadership skill, and a little more ability to coordinate across multiple jurisdictions.”
The City Manager says a search for Van Vleck's replacement started today. In the meantime, his duties have been reassigned between the other Assistant City Managers, Zanoni's Chief of Staff, and the Chief Financial Officer.
Van Vleck had worked with the city for more than a decade.
He previously worked as deputy director for water operations, director of development services and executive director of utilities.
Prior to his municipal service, Van Vleck had a 20-year career as a naval officer.
He earned a Bachelor of Civil Engineering from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and a Master of Civil Engineering from the University of Florida.
Most recently, Van Vleck was a finalist for the city manager role in Killeen last year.