Livingston’s new city manager abruptly resigned Friday, after just two months on the job, city officials confirmed.
Eddie Duque submitted a letter of resignation last week, effective Friday, according to City Attorney Jose Sanchez. He was sworn into the Livingston position on Oct. 5.
Livingston City Council held two closed-door meetings last week related to the city manager’s performance and employment, records show.
The reasons behind the sudden departure remained unclear on Monday. Duque did not respond to requests for comment.
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“Mr. Duque has decided to resign as city manager for the city of Livingston to pursue other professional opportunities,” Sanchez said in an email on Monday.
Mr. Duque has decided to resign as city manager for the city of Livingston to pursue other professional opportunities.
City Attorney Jose Sanchez
Duque, 48, was named the new city manager in July after the council conducted a search for several months. He was previously a senior analyst in the finance and management services department in Santa Ana.
Under a three-year contract in Livingston, he was set to earn an annual pay of $140,000, plus car, telephone and insurance benefits, according to a copy of the contract.
The beginning of his tenure was a bumpy one. Sun-Star inquiries found he had a bankruptcy filing and a domestic-violence conviction in his background. Both had been cleared from his record, he said, but the council admitted to not being aware of either when he was hired.
Councilman Gurpal Samra said he was not aware of any conflicts between Duque and the council or city employees. He echoed the city attorney, saying Duque said he wanted to pursue another job.
“He didn’t give any reasons,” Samra said. “I wish him the best in whatever he does.”
He didn’t give any reasons. I wish him the best in whatever he does.
Councilman Gurpal Samra
Samra said Assistant City Manager and Finance Director Odi Ortiz will serve as acting city manager. The council would have to vote to appoint Ortiz as interim during a meeting in January, if it chooses to do so.
Officials said the city will begin its search for the next leader in the coming months. Samra said there is clause in the contract with the recruiting firm that helped hire Duque, Santa Cruz-based Avery & Associates, that should allow for another recruitment without additional cost.
Duque replaced Jose Ramirez, who announced his resignation in December 2014 for personal reasons, but officially left in February after four years as top administrator.
Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza did not respond to requests for comment.