Garden Grove City Manager Matthew J. Fertal announced his resignation, which is effective Dec. 31, during a staff luncheon today.

The announcement, which took City Hall watchers by surprise, came a day after longtime Mayor Bruce Broadwater gave up on his effort to recount ballots cast in the Nov. 4 election, which he lost by 15 votes to Bao Nguyen.

It also comes ahead of tonight’s City Council meeting, at which residents are expected to show up in protest of a recent settlement deal with former fire chief David Barlag, who resigned as chief in September in exchange for a two-year deal for continued employment. 

Fertal has also been under fire since August of last year, when Voice of OC reported the employment of his three children and niece at city hall.

Fertal, who has worked at the city since 1989 and was named city manager in 2004, could not immediately be reached by phone. 

Tonight’s meeting begins at 6:15 p.m. 

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