EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – “This isn’t about some kind of big controversy or anything like that, it’s a different direction,” said East Lansing City Councilmember Dana Watson.

East Lansing city officials said, moving on from city manager George Lahanis is a part of their “new direction”.

But they haven’t said what direction that is.

The vote to get rid of Lahanis was unanimous. His replacement was announced at the same meeting.

But officials from East Lansing Info, whose main job is to follow city government, said it wasn’t a surprise move.

“The contract had to be in the works for at least a few weeks, because you can’t come up with a contract like that out of the blue the other thing I noticed is that the contract is labeled version three, which means they’ve been working on this for a while,” said Alice Dreger, an investigative reporter with East Lansing Info.

And with separation pay of more than $200,000, Dreger says the decision may have come now because the council knew they could.

“Because they knew they had the votes there was probably going to be very little controversy it was probably going to be a three to one vote, rather than a three to two vote there is an expression if you are going to shoot the king, you have to kill the king,” said Dreger.

Dreger says it may have been about money.

“Or the separation could have to do with lack of stability as most other department heads only have acting directors.”

City officials refused to elaborate on what these reasons were.