Medford Mayor Chris Myers, plagued by allegations of a sex scandal involving a male escort, cited "work commitments" when he resigned Monday.
He did not elaborate about those commitments in the letter he submitted to the town clerk and manager. Shortly after the scandal broke in late October, Myers stopped returning calls for comment and began missing town meetings.
Myers, a Republican and a family man, was vice president of international business development at Lockheed Martin's Moorestown campus before being placed on administrative leave last month.
Keith Little, spokesman for the defense contractor, said Myers left the company Dec. 1 "to pursue other opportunities." Little declined to go into specifics of his departure. Myers' job had been in the realm of missile systems and sensors and involved frequent travel, he said.
In October, pictures that resemble Myers and his identification card were posted on the sexually oriented Rentboy.com website, but have since been removed. In a narrative, e-mailed to town officials and a local newspaper, a male escort contended that Myers had paid him $500 for sex, but then failed to give him a promised car and other gifts.
Myers, 46, was quoted in published reports as saying that he was on a business trip in California in 2010 and that someone may have entered his hotel room without permission and taken pictures of him in his underwear lying on a bed.
At a town meeting Nov. 2, Myers said he "categorically denied" allegations related to the scandal and declined further comment. He called the Internet a "murky, anonymous" place where anyone could post anything.
In his letter Monday, Myers, who was on the all-Republican council for 10 years, several as mayor, said: "My work commitments will not allow me to devote the time that is needed in the months ahead."
He also listed accomplishments he said he achieved during his tenure, but he made no mention of the scandal.
Little declined to comment on Myers' plans and could not divulge Myers' most recent salary.
A Gulf War naval lieutenant, Myers began working at Lockheed in 1997 in the ballistic-missile development program and worked his way up.
In 2008, when Myers unsuccessfully ran for Congress against John Adler, he was earning $250,000 and getting big bonuses. Opponents questioned why he would leave his position for a $168,000 job as a congressman.
Chris Russell, Myers' campaign manager in the congressional race and a friend, released Myers' statement to the media: "While I am proud of my service to Medford Township, I am looking forward to leaving the public arena and enjoying the next chapter of my life with the most wonderful family and friends anyone could ask for."
Myers would have no further comment, Russell said.
"The mayor's decision is his decision and what was best for him at this time," said Chris Schultz, the town manager.
Randy Pace, who was sworn in as a councilman last week, said he expected Myers' resignation. "It's one less distraction," Pace said.
In recent years, Pace publicly asked Myers to resign based on Myers' meeting attendance, which hovered around 30 percent to 40 percent. But Pace stopped short of asking him to step down over the unproven allegation.
Some residents called for Myers to leave office for failing to offer an explanation for the Internet posting and for failing to show up at meetings.
Schultz said the local GOP committee had 15 days to submit names of candidates to replace Myers on the five-member council.
Four "yes" votes are needed to approve bond ordinances, and Schultz said he would like to get financing for several projects.
Councilman Bob Martin said that Myers' resignation "was a sad day for Medford," but that it was also good for the town.
"It's a day we thought would happen," he said. "We want what's best for Chris, his family, and our township, too."