IOWA CITY — After five years, Iowa City Manager Tom Markus will be leaving to take a job in Lawrence, Kan.
Markus announced in a Thursday memo to the Iowa City Council and to city department heads that he had accepted an offer to be the next city manager of Lawrence, Kan. His first day is tentatively set for March. 21.
“It has been my pleasure to serve a very dedicated governance board in the Iowa City City Council. Iowa City is very fortunate to have such leadership and I have appreciated the opportunity,” Markus said in the letter.
“I am incredibly grateful that I have been able to serve the City of Iowa City for the last five years. While I look forward to the opportunity that working in Lawrence provides, I will miss the people that I have had the good fortune to work and socialize with in this community. Thank you for the opportunity,” he said.
Iowa City Mayor Jim Throgmorton said he had been talking with Markus for the last two months about his possible departure after it was announced in November that Markus was as one of three finalists for the job.
“Tom is a strong, intelligent, experienced city manager and his departure will have an effect,” Throgmorton said.
Throgmorton said Geoff Fruin, the assistant to the City Manager, is likely to step in as interim city manager in Markus’s absence.
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“It’s up to the city council to decide, but I will strongly recommend that Geoff be appointed interim city manager, I think he’s fully prepared,” he said.
Throgmorton said he suspects the city council will conduct a national search for candidates — which could include Fruin — for Iowa City’s next city manager.
In a Thursday news release, Lawrence Mayor Mike Amyx said Markus was chosen for his 40 years experience in city government management.
“As a Commission, we were impressed with Tom’s experience in strategic planning and his understanding of the unique challenges facing university communities,” Amyx said in the release. “He will be a great asset to Lawrence and I look forward to working with him on community issues. As a City Commission and government, we recognize there are many issues on the horizon including affordable housing, economic development, and maintaining the strong quality of life our citizens rely on daily.”
The release states the commission will consider a contract for employment for Markus at next Tuesday’s meeting. His salary will be $190,000.