The Casper City Council approved the immediate retirement of City Manager V.H. McDonald and appointment of an interim city manager at its regular meeting Tuesday.
McDonald announced two weeks ago he would be retiring effective June 1.

But council wanted to move faster, according to a letter Monday from Mayor Kenyne Humphrey and Vice Mayor Ray Pacheco who had been in contact with McDonald.

They wrote they supported his retirement date effective Monday, which would allow council to appoint an interim city manager.

Mcdonald wrote back on Monday that he was receptive to the request.

The date to move up McDonald's retirement apparently was a topic at council's executive session Monday to consider personnel matters.

The city's announcement April 6 about the retirement also stated Assistant City Manager Liz Becher had been named interim city manager.

But Councilmember Shawn Johnson last week criticized that decision, saying council needed to appoint the interim city manager.

The early retirement and the formal appointment of Becher were approved Tuesday on a consent vote with no discussion by council.

However, several citizens and a couple of councilmembers praised McDonald's work.

"In my opinion, he will be sorely missed," Pat Sweeney said.

McDonald probably made some mistakes, but the good work he did overshadows them, he said.

McDonald came in at a difficult time because of the downturn in the economy and its devastating effect on city tax revenues, and he helped the city navigate that crisis, Sweeney said. "I would have liked to have seen him stay through the next budget cycle."

Councilmember Bob Hopkins said he remains in full support of McDonald and Police Chief Jim Wetzel.

Pacheco added McDonald was a man of high integrity, who was quiet and held deep values.