Following in the footsteps of former Springfield City Manager Gino Grimaldi, Eugene’s city manager, Jon Ruiz, announced his intent to retire, effective Oct. 18. He’s served in the position for 11 and a half years, making him one of the longest-serving city managers in the city’s history.
“I have carefully considered the timing of this decision and although I am energized by the work, fulfilled by the impact we have on peoples’ lives, and grateful for the opportunities that being City Manager has provided, it is the right time to begin a new season,” Ruiz writes in an email to city employees that Eugene Weekly obtained.
He adds in the email that in his 12-year tenure, he’s weathered through the Great Recession, got voters to approve bonds and levies, and worked to redevelop the city.
“The symbols of Downtown have changed from two empty vacant pits to high speed fiber, the Barn Light, 5th Street Market and the possibilities of a reenergized Town Square,” he writes. “The redevelopment of the Riverfront and world class park ushers in the fulfillment of the vision of several generations – connecting Downtown to the River. A half-a-dozen construction cranes dot the skyline.”
He adds that other cities consistently look to Eugene for solutions for homelessness, climate change, inclusion and accessibilty.
Ruiz’s most recent City Council performance evaluation was mostly positive feedback. In the section highlighting improvements needed from Ruiz, one councilor “dreaded” the words “I’ll get back to you on that.” The councilor said Ruiz needed to work on actually getting back to the council with information.
Other councilor testimony included more public outreach to media and at neighborhood meetings, deliver packets on time and answer emails better.
In 2018, the City Council approved a 7 percent raise — a 5 percent merit-based raise of about $11,000 and, additionally, the standard 2 percent raise for cost of living increase, which brought his total salary to $241,000 a year, or as the city salary schedule says, $115.94 an hour.
Ruiz adds in the employee email that he will stay in Eugene, plans “to stay involved, focusing on a few things.”
The Eugene City Charter allows Mayor Lucy Vinis to appoint an interim city manager. Vinis has chosen Public Works Director Sarah Medary, who’ll start Oct. 19.
Springfield is still searching for a new city manager. Grimaldi retired June 30. The city of Springfield began its search in February. The council decided against its final three candidates and has restarted the search.