Red Bank City Manager Chris Dorsey was fired at the end of Tuesday night's Board of Commissioners meeting by a 3-2 vote.
The meeting was about to adjourn when Commissioner John Roberts made a motion to fire Dorsey, said Red Bank Mayor Monty Millard. Vice Mayor Greg Jones seconded the motion, and Commissioner Floy Pierce also voted in favor of Dorsey's termination. Millard and Commissioner Ruth Jeno voted for Dorsey to stay.
The mayor said he was blindsided.
"I had to make a split decision," Millard said, adding that he voted to keep Dorsey because "the good outweighed the bad."
Dorsey had held the job for about six years, and was paid about $90,000 annually, Millard said.
Red Bank Finance Director John Alexander was appointed the interim city manager.
Jones said he began to have concerns about Dorsey during the budget process this year.
"I just don't think he was a strong-enough manager," Jones said.
Dorsey, Roberts and Jeno could not be reached for comment. Pierce declined to comment.
Dorsey came to Red Bank in 2005 after 18 years in Memphis city government. Long hailed as a financial wizard, some personnel moves in 2010 stirred controversy.
"Not every decision made by a city manager is an easy one," Dorsey said.
In July 2010, then-officer Bradley Hanon privately lobbied Jones and Pierce to work for then-chief Larry Sneed's dismissal. Dorsey never said exactly why he fired the chief. Then-Mayor Joe Glasscock and Jeno -- Sneed's friends -- said they didn't know about the firing until the media reported it.
The controversy set off four $1.5 million lawsuits that named Dorsey as a defendant.
Staff writer Chris Carroll contributed to this report.