MARTINEZ -- City Manager Phil Vince resigned abruptly on Friday, effective immediately.
The announcement of Vince's resignation came after the City Council met in closed session Friday afternoon to discuss his employment. On Wednesday, council members reviewed Vince's performance during a closed session following the regular council meeting.
"He got us through some tough times, and I wish him well in the future," Councilman Mark Ross said.
Mayor Rob Schroder did not return several calls for comment about what prompted the resignation, but in a joint statement the council thanked Vince for his years of service to the city.
Vince couldn't be reached for comment Friday.
Assistant City Manager Alan Shear will act as interim city manager until the council hires Vince's replacement.
Vince had been town manager in Moraga for four years when the Martinez council tapped him in May 2008 to replace the retiring Don Blubaugh. Vince arrived in Martinez with a reputation for fostering economic development. Shortly after his hiring, Vince said his five-year plan included creating vitality downtown, improving the parks, jump-starting the economy and making the marina more of a regional draw.
Martinez was hit hard by the housing market crash, which kept property tax revenue mostly flat for several years. In 2011, Vince led the city's effort to close an $800,000 budget deficit by freezing or eliminating positions and cutting part-time hours.
During Vince's tenure, the city built a new swimming pool, remodeled the library and upgraded many parks. Last year, the first new commercial complex built in Martinez in more than a decade opened on Arnold Drive with a drive-through Starbucks, Verizon, Dollar Tree and Chipotle.
But the recession hampered efforts to lure businesses downtown, and to keep two major businesses in Martinez, the council had to agree to share sales tax revenues. Also, the marina fell further into disrepair as the city's relationship with the state Department of Boating and Waterways soured.
In November 2011, eight months before Vince's four-year contract was set to expire, city leaders revealed that they had never formally reviewed his performance. In June 2012, the council extended his contract for two years.
According to data provided to this newspaper for calendar year 2012, Vince earned a base salary of $204,806, and Martinez paid $22,216 for his health coverage and $37,000 for his retirement benefits. It is unclear whether Vince will be paid for the time remaining on his contract, which expires in July 2014.
Lisa P. White covers Martinez and Pleasant Hill. Contact her at 925-943-8011. Follow her at Twitter.com/lisa_p_white.