FLORENCE — Louis M. Andersen, Pinal County manager for a little more than a year, agreed to resign over the weekend and submitted his resignation with no comment Monday.

The Pinal County Board of Supervisors voted to accept a mutual separation agreement in lieu of severance Tuesday afternoon. Andersen did not attend the meeting and didn’t immediately return a phone call.

The separation agreement includes a $150,000 payment to Andersen minus tax withholding, and Andersen waives any claim to vacation, sick leave or other benefits.

The agreement further states that Andersen received a copy of it on Nov. 7 and was given 21 days to consider it. He signed it the next day. Andersen has seven days to revoke the agreement. If he does not, the agreement becomes effective and enforceable on the eighth day.

The board met behind closed doors for almost an hour before the vote Tuesday.

“This is a very unhappy day for me and a lot of concerned Pinal County citizens,” Supervisor Todd House, R-Apache Junction, the only board member to vote against accepting Andersen’s voluntary resignation, commented before the vote.

“I want to thank Louis Andersen for his last 14 months of service,” Vice Chairman Pete Rios, D-Dudleyville, added. “… He has kept the county on the straight and narrow and growing economically, in spite of COVID-19. He’s done a heck of a good job. He now seems to have different plans, and I simply want to wish him the best in his future endeavors. It’s a resignation he submitted, I vote aye.”

The board appointed Assistant County Manager Leo Lew to be interim manager effective at close of business on Nov. 17, Andersen’s last day. Andersen’s entire resignation letter, dated Monday, said simply, “I hereby tender my resignation from County Employment, effective Nov. 17, 2020.”

Andersen was the county’s public works director for the six years prior to being appointed manager. He is an Air Force veteran, earned an MBA from City University in Seattle and completed Kennedy School’s Senior Executive Management Program at Harvard University.

The county manager provides basic guidance and leadership to county departments, but primarily serves the Board of Supervisors by making sure their strategic priorities are enacted.

Lew was a finalist for the county manager’s role in 2019 and will be supported by Deputy County Manager Himanshu Patel. With three members of the board departing at the end of the year, the search for a new manager will not begin until the new board members take office in January, the county said in a prepared statement.

“Leo has been with the county for over a decade and has worked closely with both Louis Andersen and the previous county manager Greg Stanley, so is well placed to take on the role and steer the county until the appointment of a permanent county manager in the new year,” board Chairman Anthony Smith, R-Maricopa, commented in the county’s statement.

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Mark Cowling is the county reporter for PinalCentral and covers the town of Florence, San Tan Valley and the surrounding area. He can be reached at mcowling@pinalcentral.com.

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