Fewer than 50 hours after saying he felt he had ample support from city administration, that he received “nothing but positive” feedback from the community, and that he was committed to Marion as long as his efforts were successful, economic development director Terry Jones resigned, citing a lack of support.
“Due to the current structure of the city, my efforts could not be put to their best use and I refuse to accept anything other than my best,” he wrote in his resignation letter to city officials Wednesday.
Jones, who will continue with the city until Nov. 17, was more candid on social media.
“I honestly feel like a quitter and that I am abandoning Marion,” he wrote. “I have tried my hardest; put in many hours away from my family, stuck to my beliefs even after reprimands and coming close to being fired, but the situation remains.”
Jones’s wife, Chelsi, addressed his resignation as well.
“Unfortunately, his efforts were not appreciated and at times went unrecognized,” she wrote.
After an initial version of this story was posted, Jones specifically denied Friday that he ever cited a lack of support, adding: “I for sure won’t miss being bashed by the Record constantly.”
Repeated requests to Jones for further comment were declined.
“I’m not going to argue about this,” he wrote. “I’m over it.”
Jones accepted a job as community development director for the city of McPherson.
“The large raise in salary, benefits, and advancement of my career was a very small factor in my decision as I have always seen my job as to assist this community, not to assist myself,” Jones wrote in his resignation letter.
Jones was interviewed Monday by the Marion County Record and indicated he would be committed to Marion as long as he “was effective.”
City administrator Roger Holter said he was surprised by Jones’s resignation, but Mayor Todd Heitschmidt saw it otherwise.
“There are other communities that have bigger budgets than we do and different type programming that I can see would fit Terry very well,” he said. “It’s not a complete surprise only because of Terry’s involvement in economic development training sessions, programs. Terry’s made a lot of contacts for those and there have been a number of positions open throughout the state.”
Holter cited Jones’s satisfaction with the community and his being “anchored” in Marion as reasons for the resignation coming as a surprise. Jones’s wife is a Marion native and together they have two children and are hosts of a foreign exchange student for the school year.
Holter said he will assume Jones’s responsibilities in his immediate absence, but city council will discuss how to proceed after Jones’s resignation at a meeting Monday.
“As a city, we should not miss a beat as far as opportunities for projects or the conclusion of current projects,” he said.