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Friday, April 2, 2010 - 12:27pm

Savannah City Manager Resigns

Savannah City Manager Michael Brown has resigned.

Under the city's charter, Brown is the city's chief executive, a post he has held for 15-years of remarkable change in Savannah.

In a letter to Savannah City Council on Friday, Brown said that he has accepted the position of county manager in Arlington, Va.

"The time has come for Linda Lee and me to begin a new chapter of our lives," Brown wrote. "I want to truly thank you for the opportunities that we have had in Savannah."

Brown sometimes clashed with Savannah's elected mayor and other members of City Council.

The city manager came under special criticism for his handling of police chiefs.

Still, Mayor Otis Johnson said that Brown was "one of the best" and "will be missed."

"Like all close relationships, people have differences of opinion," Johnson said. "We've had our differences of opinion over time. But none of it rose to a level that we ever thought about severing our relationship."

Brown is credited for overseeing several major neighborhood and downtown revitalization projects and for virtually eliminating the rampant residential flooding that existed in Savannah in the 1990's.

"That was a monumental task that he took on," Johnson said. "Right now, we have very few areas where we have residential flooding."

Critics, however, have said that Brown stayed too long in office and didn't do enough on issues such as crime, parking and making doing business less bureacratic.

His resignation comes in the wake of other key departures in Savannah's business and government scene, including Asst. City Manager Chris Morrill; the director of the Savannah Economic Development Agency, Rick Winger; and former police chief Michael Berkow.

Brown's letter says that he intends to remain on the job until May 3rd.