Ann Arbor city administrator steps down after termination vote

Crawford issues apology to ‘entire community’ in resignation letter

Tom Crawford. (City of Ann Arbor)

ANN ARBOR – City administrator Tom Crawford announced his resignation on Tuesday in a letter sent to Mayor Christopher Taylor and City Council.

The move followed an 8-3 vote during the July 20 City Council meeting to terminate Crawford and the passing of a resolution to make public a nine-page report into racially insensitive comments Crawford made to city employees.

According to the independent investigation conducted by attorney Jennifer B. Salvatore in June, Crawford told an employee: “This is why you have to be careful hiring minorities—because you can’t fire them or let them go.” City employees interviewed said Crawford regularly used the term “the Blacks” when referring to Black residents and used “us/them” language.

Other said he made inappropriate comments regarding the sexual orientation of a city employee and about women in the workforce.

Read: City of Ann Arbor announces new equitable engagement committee

Salvatore said that Crawford denied ever saying some of the most troubling comments. She found that he was in violation of the city’s Standards of Conduct Policy 5.28, which prohibits: “Engaging in any behavior or action, on or off duty, that is detrimental to the reputation or image of the city or the operations of the workplace.”

Crawford was appointed city administrator in September 2020, several months after City Council voted 7-4 to terminate then-city administrator Howard Lazarus’ employment without cause.

In his resignation letter, Crawford wrote:

“As a leader I have reflected upon this time and recognize that I have not always been at my absolute best, which I now understand created hurt, distrust and anxiety amongst some staff. To all those who were negatively affected, I sincerely apologize.

“As a public servant, I have high standards for myself and staff, and I personally did not meet my own standards. I believe deeply that diversity and inclusivity bring enormous value to the organization and the city as a whole, and I offer my apologies to our entire community for not unceasingly meeting the principles I and City Council pledge to uphold.”

He announced his resignation was effective immediately, and as of Oct. 1, 2021 he would be resigning as a permanent city employee. He will be working remotely until then to support the transition, but without interacting with city staff.

Crawford worked for the city for 17 years, the majority of which he served as chief financial officer.

City Council will introduce a plan to appoint an interim city administrator at its upcoming meeting on Aug. 16. Until then, public services administrator Craig Hupy will serve as acting administrator until Aug. 11 and assistant administrator John Founier will assume the position until Aug. 16.

About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.