From our sister site The Waterland Blog:

After a late Executive Session at its Thursday, Nov. 9, 2023 meeting, the Des Moines City Council – by 5–2 vote – notified City Manager Michael Matthias of its intent to end his tenure as City Manager.

“As part of a Separation Agreement, Matthias has been assigned to the position of Interim Chief Economic Development Officer for the City,” the city announced.

No other statements were made or reasons given as to why this seemingly sudden decision was made by the council.

Matthias’ salary for 2022 was a reported $285,422.

In his new role, Matthias will be responsible for promoting continued economic development while also overseeing aspects of the Marina redevelopment project and other related duties.

The terms of Matthias’ new arrangement is through June 30, 2024.

The City Council voted to appoint City Attorney Tim George to fill the City Manager position on an interim basis. George has been with the City for 15 years.

“I’m confident in Tim’s ability to lead the City during the interim and assist with a smooth transition as we move into the future,” Mayor Matt Mahoney said.

Matthias began his career with Des Moines in 2014 when he was hired as the Assistant City Manager with an emphasis on Economic Development. He was selected as the City Manager in Oct., 2016. During his tenure, he played a pivotal role in fortifying the General Fund balance, elevating the City’s bond rating, securing over $30 million in grant funding, and implementing improvements to the Marina bulkhead and Redondo boardwalk. His efforts also expanded park space and laid the foundation for waterfront development and related amenities at the Marina and in Redondo.

“I want to thank Michael for his commitment to this City and the great work he has done,” Mahoney said. “He accomplished what we hired him to do. But now as we look into the future, it’s time for the City to pivot in a new direction”

Voting against the motion on how (i.e. the contract and terms) – but not whether – to terminate Matthias were councilmembers Gene Achziger and JC Harris.

Des Moines City Attorney Tim George was sworn in as Interim City Manager at the end of the Nov. 9 Council meeting.

Tim George Sworn In As Interim City Manager

Achziger and Harris also voted against the motion to appoint George as the Interim City Manager.

The City will begin the process of selecting a new City Manager immediately.


Below is video showing the City Council’s discussion about terminating Matthias and installing George after their Executive Session:

Here’s full text of the city’s Nov. 9, 2023 announcement: