The Ferguson City Council on Tuesday voted unanimously to part ways with embattled City Manager John Shaw.
In a letter released to reporters at the scene, the council described Shaw's move as the result of a "mutual separation agreement." The agreement went into affect immediately.
In a letter addressed "to the Ferguson community," Shaw wrote that his "separation" from the city is "in the community's best interest." The letter does not specifically address the unrest following Michael Brown's death, though Shaw did add that he has "done everything in my power to work with countless groups to bring about positive change and strengthen our community."
Shaw also wrote about his efforts to overcome "our City's most challenging obstacles to inclusion and opportunity." Later, he took issue with the Department of Justice report:
And while I certainly respect the work that the DOJ recently performed in their investigation and report on the City of Ferguson, I must state clearly that my office has never instructed the police department to target African Americans, nor falsify charges to administer fines, nor heap abuses on the backs of the poor. Any inferences of that kind from the report are simply false.
The report mentions Shaw either by name or title several times. It specifically cites two times that he learned the courts were generating record-breaking amounts money for the city. In 2011, he called that news "Wonderful!" Then in 2013, he replied "Awesome! Thanks!"
The city manager in Ferguson is an appointed position and, according to the Justice Department report, "is responsible for all affairs of the city," including the police department.
Speaking at a news conference Wednesday, Ferguson Mayor James Wallace Knowles III said Shaw would get severance pay equal to one year's salary, which according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch was $120,000.
A nationwide search would be initiated for Shaw's replacement, Knowles added, as well as for the chief of police, who announced his resignation Wednesday.
Shaw's ouster comes just a day after Ferguson's municipal judge, Ronald Brockmeyer, resigned.
Following his resignation, Brockmeyer criticized the Justice Department report.
"I don't believe the report was correct," Brockmeyer told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "but it's not worth fighting."
According to the Justice Department report, Brockmeyer successfully used the court to generate revenue for the city. The report adds that some of Brockmeyer's actions "are widely considered abusive and may be unlawful."
In addition to Brockmeyer stepping down, all municipal cases in Ferguson will be reassigned to the circuit court, the Post-Dispatch reported.
Shaw and Brockmeyer follow three other city employees — a court clerk and two police officers — who also have been ousted following the Justice Department report. The clerk, Mary Ann Twitty, was fired, while the two officers resigned.