Reprinted from the Norris Bulletin
City Council met in a special called meeting on the evening of Monday, August 15th, to discuss the ongoing search for a new city manager following the resignation of Scott Hackler in June.
Mayor Chris Mitchell began the meeting by distributing an email response from Joshua Ray declining the formal offer of employment made by Council last week. Before continuing with procedural discussion on the next steps, the Council opened up the floor for public comment. Two residents expressed their hope that Council would look to someone local, while a third speaker said he would support a salary rate that would garner a professional manager who could run a city in the process of transition.
Following the public comment period, Council set about the task of rebooting the effort to attract and hire the next city manager. The four members of Council who were present unanimously agreed that it would be best to start the process over again, refreshing the job advertisement verbiage to include more stringent qualifications and listing the salary range, which Council voted to list at $80,000-125,000 per year, not including benefits. On this note, Councilman Bill Grieve stated that his salary cap was $100,000 and cautioned that the Council should consider the pay of existing city employees. In response, Mayor Mitchell said he felt the city had done a good job bringing up city pay in recent years and that they could do more, the hope being that an effective city manager will be able to evaluate pay scales across the city and make changes in line with the city’s budgetary requirements.
Following this discussion, Council set dates for upcoming public meetings to complete the search and decided to advertise the job announcement more widely to include the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), as well as the Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS) and local papers. Council will also refer to MTAS for advice on what other cities may be including in their advertisements and similar management searches that Norris has neglected.
In the meantime, Joe Deatherage, who served as the interim city manager previously in late 2016 into early 2017, has been named interim again. Mr. Deatherage comes with a long history of service to Norris and, after accepting, advised Council on their search, “Don’t take too long. I turn 89 in October.”