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Saturday, July 23, 2016

Crossville city council votes to move forward on hiring a new city manager.

A majority of the Crossville city council approved with moving forward to hire a new city manager without waiting until after the November council election as previously approved.

The agenda item on the special called meeting Friday July 22 was proposed by mayor pro-tem Pamala Harris and she said she had a comment to make at the start of the agenda item.

Council members Danny Wyatt, Mayor James Mayberry, Pamala Harris and Jesse Kerley

Said Harris, “It has come to my attention that there are rumors floating around regarding this agenda item. I will caution you not to listen to rumors. There are some people who thrive on rumors and conspiracy theories and who frankly have harmed our city by spreading misinformation and making accusations against this council and other citizens that are unfounded. I can't speak for anyone else, but I'm tired of this nonsense. So I'm going to ask everyone to join me in rejecting the rumors and gossip. Let's get on with the business of this city and make Crossville an even better place than we know it is today.”

Harris did not specify who and what the rumor was she was discussing, but in one email that circulated prior to the meeting, councilman Pete Souza wrote in an email Monday July 18 that there was a rumor that J. H. Graham was going to apply. Wrote Souza, “That would truly be a coincidence. I look forward to see how this is going to play out, especially the reaction from our constituents.

While Mr. Souza advised the council that he would be unable to attend a called meeting scheduled for the week, the meeting was scheduled and Mr. Souza was absent.

Ms. Harris moved on with her item saying, “The hiring of a city manger is incredibly important. I personally would like to take my time when reviewing resumes and vetting candidates to ensure that who ever we hire is qualified, is a leader, and desires to work well with the full council, and I stress full council, and wants to become a part of our community.”

Harris moved to rescind the previous action of April 14, 2016 to wait until after the election to recruit and hire a new city manager. Harris' motion received a second from councilman Jesse Kerley.

Mayor James Mayberry asked city attorney Will Ridely on the necessary vote count to rescind a previous motion and Ridley told him because the item was properly listed on the agenda only a simple majority was necessary but under Robert's rules, if it was not listed on the agenda it would require a 2/3 majority.

Ms. Harris said that she did not know if the city could hire a manager before the election, but she wanted to start the process. Councilman Wyatt said that at least three members of the current council would still be on the council after November so he didn't see it as an issue.

Mr. Kerley said the only reason he supported a delay in looking for a manager was to see where the recall effort went. Said Kerley, “Since it failed miserably, I think it's time to move on.”

The motion passed with all members present voting in favor.

Harris then moved to move forward with contacting the Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS) for assistance with recruiting a city manager, and accepting resumes over the next 60 days, and to direct the city attorney to review and edit the current job description, and the council is to be given copies of the resumes as they are received.

Councilman Danny Wyatt gave the second on the motion and asked about using MTAS and Mayor Mayberry read from information provided by MTAS about the services they provide. Those services are listed below.

Motion was approved with all four council members present voting in favor.   

Video of the city manager discussion during the called meeting held July 22, 2016

  • Offering suggestions on where to advertise 
  • Placing notices on the MTAS website 
  • Requesting other state’s city management associations to post job notices 
  • Using MTAS consultants to help recruit former colleagues and current and past clients for positions 

  • Accepting applications 
  • Handling application correspondence 
  • Ranking applications 
  • Supplying a ranking system of applications for the elected officials to use based on the advertisement and/or qualities the board desires to have in an administrator 

  • Facilitating discussions with the governing body on narrowing the list of applicants to invite for an interview 
  • Scheduling interviews with candidates 
  • Writing interview questions specifically tailored for the town that address current issues, criteria specified in the advertisement, and core competencies 
  • Supplying a ranking system for interviews 
  • Conducting and ranking interviews with a senior staff member to assist the governing body in making its decision on who to bring back for a second interview 
  • Supplying a list of generic interview questions for the governing body to select from 
  • Proctoring interviews 
  • Providing cost estimates of hosting interviews 
  • Developing and proctoring assessment centers 

  • Providing sample employment contracts for the governing body to consider 
  • Providing comparable salary and benefit information

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