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Jim Rizzi, publisher of City Weekly, will leave the alternative newspaper next month, and founder John Saltas will step in temporarily.

"I have no idea why" Rizzi decided to leave after a decade on the job, Saltas said Thursday. "I wasn't thrilled when he announced his decision."

Rizzi's last day will be May 8.

"It's not really a resignation. It's a reduction in force," Saltas said. "We are just saying the position is no longer here. That's the route that Jim chose, to move out of that position."

"I just felt it was time for me to try something different," Rizzi, 55, said. "I haven't figured out what that is yet."

Like most publications, City Weekly has been struggling with falling advertising revenue. Rizzi said the paper is still profitable, but business conditions are more difficult than they were when the recession began five years ago.

"I think we are doing much better than most papers of our size in our industry. It's not 2007, but [City Weekly] is certainly still ahead of the curve," he said.

Even so, Rizzi said, the alternative newspaper business "is not as rewarding as it used to be."

Saltas has served as the paper's publisher before. He will return to the role for several months.

"Whether we replace [Rizzi] with a full-on publisher or general manager at some point hasn't been decided," he said.

He acknowledged that Rizzi's departure will save the paper money but he said cost-cutting was not Rizzi's motivation.

"Jim has just decided to move on," Saltas said.

Before Rizzi came to City Weekly in 2001, he worked for New Times, a Phoenix-based chain of alternative publications now known as Village Voice Media.

He sold advertisements for the Phoenix edition of New Times. Later, he sold ads for the Denver edition before advancing to publisher. Rizzi also was publisher of the chain's San Francisco and Los Angeles editions.

Twitter: @sltribpaul