City Manager Justin Erickson this week attended his last Shawnee City Commission meeting, as city leaders offered farewells.

City Manager Justin Erickson this week attended his last Shawnee City Commission meeting, as city leaders offered farewells.

Erickson announced his resignation recently; he and his family are moving to Washington state.

The board was happy for Erickson's new opportunity, but sad for the community.

Ward 1 City Commissioner Ed Bolt said, “Justin, I think you guys have been such a wonderful thing for our community — you and your entire family,” he said. “I certainly know why you'd want to go back home; I think that's important and you're doing it at the right time, before your kids go to school.”

He said he thinks Erickson's leaving was a good decision even though the community probably doesn't like it.

“Thank you so much for what you've done for Shawnee,” he said. “We wish you the best.”

Ward 2 City Commissioner Ron Gillham Sr. said he was fortunate enough to work under two city managers during his time on the board.

From 1992 to 2000 Terry Powell was the City Manager, he said.

“He was perfect for that time,” Gillham said. “We had a gentleman (Erickson) here that was perfect for our time — a perfect time to calmly and coolly in a nice, simple and easy way be able to accomplish and have people respect him and move ahead. Look what's happened to us in the last three or four years.”

Gillham offered Erickson the best for him and his family in the future.

Ward 3 City Commissioner James Harrod thanked Erickson for his 10 years of leadership.

“The City if Shawnee is a lot better off because you were here,” he said.

Ward 4 City Commissioner Darren Rutherford had a similar view.

“Justin, thanks for what you have done for the city,” he said. Addressing Erickson's wife, Katie, he added, “We're going to miss you guys.”

Ward 5 City Commissioner Mark Sehorn said he had the pleasure of working with Erickson when he was in the planning Department.

“He's been a huge asset to the city,” Sehorn said.

Regarding family, he added, “It's time to go home; we hate to lose you, but we definitely wish you the best.”

Ward 6 City Commissioner Ben Salter said his first introduction to city government was in 2009, when he was appointed to the Planning Commission.

Erickson was the planning director at that time, he said.

Now, when Erickson said he was leaving I told him I was going to vote no,” he joked. “Then they put it on the consent agenda so I couldn't do it.”

Mayor Richard Finley said he hates to see Erickson go.

“I've worked very closely with Justin for the last couple years,” he said. “It's been a pleasure; I particularly love to work with quality, young men who understand how things are supposed to be and provide the dedication and leadership that we need for the city.”

The city has been through a little bit of turmoil, Finley said.

“He's done an excellent job trying to cement those relationships that may have been strained in the past and I think at this point,” he said. “I think he leaves the city in as good shape as he could possibly have left it.”

Finley then presented Erickson with a plaque signifying the city's appreciation for his service.

The board has named Eric Benson, a former city manager from Enid (retired in 2014), as interim city manager as the search for a new leader begins.

The board formed a committee that will begin the search for a replacement. City Commissioners Bolt, Gillham and Harrod were named to that committee.

Watch for updates.