Walt Mares File Photo/Gila Herald: Clifton Police Chief Omar Negrete, left, observes as Town Manager Heather Ruder answers an audience member’s question about the Clifton Public Library. Ruder submitted her resignation as town manager after only serving five months.
By Jon Johnson and Walt Mares
CLIFTON – Less than half a year into her tenure as Clifton Town Manager, Heather Ruder has resigned from her position while citing personal reasons.
Ruder was among 26 people who applied to replace former town manager Ian McGaughey, who left at the end of May 2018 to become the town manager for Somerton, Arizona.
In June 2018, two sources not affiliated with the town went public with news that Ruder had been hired by Clifton prior to a contract being signed. The incident led to the resignation of Greenlee County Economic Development Coordinator Akos Kovach from the Clifton Town Council, a position he had been appointed to May 10, 2018.
A native of Hawaii, Ruder relocated to Tucson, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Arizona. She worked for more than 18 years in the public and private sectors and worked with the Pima County Parks and Recreation Department prior to taking the job as town manager for Clifton.
A press release Tuesday confirmed that Ruder had submitted her resignation via e-mail to the Clifton Town Council on Dec. 22, 2018.
“This notification was made by e-mail and all of us were surprised by this action,” stated Clifton Mayor Luis Montoya in the release. “Ms. Ruder’s letter of resignation outlines her personal reasons for requesting termination of her agreement with the town of Clifton and has nothing to do with dissatisfaction with the town council, any staff or employee, or disagreement with any policy or issue assigned as her task.”
According to the release, Montoya is recommending the council formally accept Ruder’s resignation at its Thursday afternoon meeting with it taking effect that day.
“On behalf of the town council and our community, we thank Ms. Ruder for her service and wish her well in all future endeavors,” Montoya said in the release.
The Clifton Town Council will also begin the task of searching for Ruder’s replacement.