Buchanan resigns as interim North Las Vegas city manager

Interim North Las Vegas City Manager Jeff Buchanan announced his resignation Wednesday, effective early next month.

No reason was given for the move, and city spokesman Mitch Fox said he wasn’t sure if Buchanan is in line to receive a severance package.

An announcement issued by the city Wednesday afternoon was similarly short on specifics, noting only that Buchanan “would not seek the permanent position as city manager” in an upcoming national search for his replacement.

Buchanan is the eighth upper-level administrator to leave the city since Mayor John Lee took office in July. Five of those were let go under a citywide “reorganization” announced in February. Three others, including City Attorney Jeff Barr and Finance Director Al Zochowski, never gave reasons for their departure.

Buchanan, the cash-strapped city’s former fire chief, was first tapped to replace outgoing City Manager Tim Hacker in August.

He took the job amid a long-brewing storm between the city and its four major bargaining groups, unions that had shown little affection toward Buchanan’s “union busting” successor.

Nine months later, he leaves behind a city with a budget balanced on the back of more than $10 million in union concessions, a feat that hasn’t gone unnoticed at City Hall.

“Last fall Jeff stepped up to help us to resolve historic union negotiations and helped establish a more stable financial footing for the community’s future,” Lee said in a news release issued Wednesday. “His communication skills and leadership abilities will serve him well, and I wish him success in his next endeavor.”

Buchanan, for his part, never saw the city’s challenges as insurmountable.

“I am very thankful I was given this opportunity to come in and help resolve what many considered unsolvable challenges,” he said in a statement. “I realized our council was looking for a permanent city manager with more experience, but the first order of business was to stabilize the city and I was grateful to have played a part in that process.”

Reached for comment Wednesday night, Buchanan didn’t volunteer any specifics on the decision, adding only that his departure from the city was amicable and that he hadn’t made any decisions about where to go next.

Officials have named nine-year city staffer and current Deputy City Manager Dr. Qiong Liu as Buchanan’s replacement while the city embarks on a long-awaited national search for a permanent appointee to the city manager’s post.

They haven’t said when they plan to complete the search, which is scheduled to begin later this summer.

Buchanan’s last day at the city will be June 10, though he’ll remain on the payroll through June 26.

Contact James DeHaven at jdehaven@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3839. Find him on Twitter: @JamesDeHaven.