Other than posting of special meeting notice, no public announcement has been made regarding Joe Lessard’s resignation
By Morgan Rothborne, Ashland.news
City officials remained tight-lipped Wednesday ahead of a special meeting of the Ashland City Council on Friday on “Termination of employment … City Manager Resignation,” according to a public notice posted Tuesday morning. Joe Lessard has been city manager since Jan. 3, 2022.
Reached via text message Wednesday, Mayor Tonya Graham stated she would have no comment until after the Friday, Oct. 27, meeting. Ashland Communications Officer Dorinda Cottle also declined to comment on the situation.
An email to Lessard’s city email address bounced back with an out of office message. “I will be out of the office June 22nd through July 4th and will be without access to my email. …I will follow-up with you as soon as possible upon my return,” the message said.
Deputy City Manager Sabrina Cotta also declined to comment, but did confirm Lessard was unavailable. No information was publicly available regarding his final day of work and who will take over his duties after his departure.
Other than the posting of the special meeting agenda, the city has made no other announcement about the change.
Lessard was the first regular hire to fill the city manager role after Ashland residents voted to move to a city manager form of government in the special election of May 2020, according to a statement on the city of Ashland’s website posted at the time of his hiring in December 2021. At the time of his resignation, he held the role for one year and 10 months.
The special executive session is scheduled for 6 to 6:45 p.m. Friday, followed by a special business meeting regarding “Leave, Resignation and Severance Adjustment Agreement with City Manager” at 6:45 p.m. Both meetings will be in the council chamber at 1175 E. Main St.
According to Oregon public meetings law, a governing body meeting in executive session must return to public session before taking final action.
Email Ashland.news reporter Morgan Rothborne at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oct. 27: Live stream information added.
Related story: Ashland city manager steps down, posted Oct. 24, 2023