Savannah City Manager Rob Hernandez, in the middle of a hot political fight over his controversial Fire Fee idea, announced today that he is a finalist for the job of City Manager in Brownsville, Texas.
“The past 20 months have been some of the most rewarding and challenging of my career. During this time I have developed a deep appreciation for Savannah, one of America’s great cities. I have also come to realize how much the citizens care about their community, and how passionate they are concerning its future," he writes in a statement.
"My goal has been to develop a City organization that matches the excellence of this community, and help Savannah fully realize its true potential. We have made much progress in a short amount of time, but in hindsight we perhaps moved too quickly on too many fronts. I have also at times been too blunt when diplomacy would have been better. For this, I apologize," Hernandez writes.
"Criticism of government is healthy and important, and comes with the territory. I don’t take it personally, even if some of the attacks on me have been very personal. What I do want is to work in a community that wants to work with me. I am not sure that is currently the case. Amid a sustained level of criticism and uncertainty, I have considered opportunities outside Savannah. While I have no desire to leave, I did feel it was a prudent move for me and my family," he writes.
"I am excited about Savannah’s bright future. I do hope we can work together to get there.”
Hernandez has only held the Savannah office since September 2016, hired by City Council in the wake of Mayor Eddie DeLoach's victory in the November 2015 city elections.
A story from April in the Brownsville Herald
lists him as one of 30 applicants.
His signature policy proposal, a new Fire Fee, was intended to help stabilize the City's budget problems but caused intense public furor.
Hernandez was visibly frustrated with Council at last week's regular meeting, in which he was tasked with re-doing the Fire Fee with days to go before the mandatory budget and tax rate adoption.