Mike Will left his job the same way he did it: with no comment.
Sandusky City Commissioners learned Thursday that City Manager Will is resigning to take a private sector position in Elyria.
Will, 34, a Sandusky native, did not return calls for comment. He will officially announce his resignation at a 5 p.m. emergency commission meeting today. He's been manager since June 2004.
Commissioners Thursday tried to take the news in stride, making a commitment to work together and hire a manager with the same drive and tenacity.
The projects Will spearheaded will continue, they said. The city will move forward on the Marina District proposal, Chesapeake Lofts and the Sadler Sailing Basin lease.
"The timing is terrible," said Commissioner Dave Waddington.
But he understands Will's decision.
"He's very driven and passionate," Waddington said. "He was committed and worked very very hard. I think the sagging economy, the loss of the jobs, led to some frustrations."
Throughout his tenure there was tension between Will and commissioners. So much Commissioner Dennis Murray introduced a contract protecting Will if he was fired without due cause.
Last summer, Will was considered for a city manager job in Dayton.
Commissioner Brett Fuqua said he's been on Will's side from the beginning and believes some commissioners being a "thorn in his side" led to this.
"I'm sure that he has good reasons for wanting to pursue other interests and I wish him the best," said Vice Mayor Dannie Edmon.
"In that position I don't think any time is ever a good time, there's always a lot going on within the city," Edmon said.
Commissioner Brian Crandall said employees moving on is a part of running a business, or in this case, the city.
"All I really can say is in today's world people move on everyday to other opportunities," he said.
Commissioner Dennis Murray said Will has left the city in a good position because of the staff he hired.
"I would have loved to have seen Mike stay here until he retired, but in terms of being a reasonable transition time, I'm thankful we have the staff."
Murray believes Scott Schell, the city's economic development specialist, Assistant City Manager Gary Packan and Downtown Development Manager John Lippus will take the lead and carry the city through the transition.
Will brought the city beyond the question of whether it wants to change to what kind of economic rebirth it wants to see, Murray said.
"He's poured five years worth of his heart in the city."
Commissioner Craig Stahl said Will left a wonderful footprint on the history of the city.
Stahl said the city will need to find a replacement for Will with the same drive and tenacity.
"We didn't always see eye to eye, the commission and Mike, but that's to be expected," said Ex officio Mayor Dan Kaman.
Moving on was entirely Will's decision, he said.
The search for a new city manager will begin after Will officially resigns, Kaman said. An interim will be named soon. Will makes $96,900 a year.
"It's not a state of emergency, four of the commissioners have been through this before," Kaman said.