Now Webster City is losing its assistant city manager.
On Tuesday, Biridiana Bishop announced she will be leaving her job effective December 12.
This news comes in the wake of two things: City Manager Daniel Ortiz-Hernandez’s resignation effective in January, and an unsigned three-page letter criticizing current city management, including Ortiz-Hernandez and Bishop.
John Hawkins, Webster City’s mayor, said that when Ortiz-Hernandez announced he was leaving, he spoke with Bishop in the hope she was not also leaving.
“Originally she said yes she would stay,” Hawkins said.
The plan, if she had, was to consider moving her into an interim city manager position while the City Council conducted the formal search for a new city manager. She would have been considered a candidate for that position, had she chosen to pursue it, he said.
Bishop said Wednesday that after Ortiz-Hernandez announced his resignation, employment recruiters had reached out to her. That culminated in an offer she accepted.
She will stay in the area, she said.
The anonymous letter had nothing to do with that decision, she added.
Here is the email she sent to the mayor on Tuesday in which she shared her reasoning for no longer needing a closed session of the council to discuss the city manager position:
“I sincerely appreciate the thought and consideration expressed for myself to consider potentially serving as your permanent City Manager.
“After careful consideration, I am respectfully withdrawing my request for closed session and no longer wish to be considered for the permanent City Manager role. I would also like to inform you that I provided the City Manager with my letter of resignation this morning as I have accepted another opportunity and my last day will be December 12, 2023.
“It has been a sincere pleasure serving the community of Webster City. I will do my best to ensure a smooth transition and wish you all the best.”
Hawkins said Tuesday, “I’m disappointed that Biri’s leaving. I think she could have shone on her own.”
Bishop said she had seen the unsigned letter, which suggests there are a number of city staff who would be qualified to be elevated into the city manager vacancy.
“I know that I did good work,” Bishop said. “I’m doing what’s best for me and my family.”
She did not disclose the name of her future employer.
Ahead for the council is that search for a city manager.
The council formally accepted Ortiz-Hernandez’ resignation at its November 6 meeting. It is effective January 18, 2024. He has accepted a position as the assistant city manager for the City of Ennis, Texas.
Previously, Ortiz-Hernandez served as the city manager in Webster City from 2016 to 2018.
When he returned to Webster City in 2021 from Wasco, California, where he served as city manager, he requested that a colleague, Bishop, also be hired as Webster City’s assistant city manager. Before coming to Webster City, she was public works director for the City of Wasco, California.
Jeffrey Sheridan, the city manager who replaced Ortiz-Hernandez in July of 2019, was released from his position in December 2020, online records show. He was hired following a long search to find Ortiz-Hernandez’s replacement. Sheridan was serving as the town manager for the town of Lowell, Indiana, when he was hired for the Webster City position.
View this article as it originally appeared in the Daily Freeman-Journal.
Last modified: November 16, 2023