For most of Laurinburg, Ed Burchins’ decision to step down Tuesday night as city manager was swift and unexpected.
During December’s agenda workshop, Burchins said he planned to relinquish his job and within four hours he had.
This newspaper does not yet know the particulars of why Burchins decided to resign. He said it was for personal reasons and we will take him at his word.
What we do know is that Burchins was a decent guy with a tough job. A city manager has to wear a lot of hats. Police officer. Garbage collector. Economic developer. Administrator.
While there are more than 100 employees to help accomplish those things and more, Burchins was ultimately responsible for getting all those duties right. The buck stopped at his desk.
A veteran of city hall — having worked as a city manager in Florence, S.C., Newton and Washington, Burchins was well aware of those responsibilities. If he wasn’t, the endless calls from complaining citizens or inquiring reporters would have served as a quick reminder.
The city council, who hired Burchins, served as an additional reminder. The mayor and council set policy and it was Burchins’ job to see that it was carried out. There were times when Burchins came under tough questioning — and rightfully so — about why certain policies and goals were not being accomplished. There were also times when the questioning could be characterized as nitpicking.
It should also be said that some on council seemed to want an innovator in the job or at least a gregarious backslapper. Burchins was neither.
What he was was a technician who helped put the city on a good financial footing. Because of his cost-effective policies and management, Laurinburg is expected to end up with another significant fund balance. In the current climate, that is no small feat.
Burchins’ four-year tenure as manager was not perfect, but it was good.
The city and its citizens were fortunate to have him. We should all wish him well.