UPDATE: During Thursday’s East Ridge City Council meeting, the council voted unanimously to extend an offer to Christopher Dorsey to become the city’s new City Manager .
A proposed contract would pay Dorsey, the former City Manager of Red Bank, a salary of $115,000 per year. It would include a $450 per month car allowance, full medical insurance, a severance package of four months pay if he were terminated without case, and the city would contribute 10 percent to his retirement fund.
Mayor Brian Williams told Davis Lundy of the Times Free Press that he thought Dorsey would do well in the East Ridge job. Williams said that he does not want to continue “the revolving door” of city managers in East Ridge and that Dorsey “wants to be here.”
In 2013 Dorsey turned down an offer from East Ridge to become City Manager with a salary of $120,000 plus benefits. Instead, he took the job of CM on Signal Mountain for $90,000. His tenure there was brief, only eight months.
Councilwoman Esther Helton told the TFP that Dorsey would “be a good fit.” She noted that Dorsey has connections in Hamilton County.
Dorsey will succeed J. Scott Miller, who announced his retirement effective the first week of November 2018. Miller was hired in May of 2016.
Dorsey will become the City’s seventh City Manager since 2008. That list includes: David Mayes, Curtis Adams, William Whitson, Tim Goble, Andrew Hyatt, and Miller.
ULinks to video:
Here are the links to the City Manager interviews: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5g1pms9xg-c&feature=youtu.behttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1A-t0P3jPRw&feature=youtu.behttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mR0ccfUTaFE&feature=youtu.behttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qbsVKmdwewo&feature=youtu.behttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hu2I0SKpisk&feature=youtu.be
The East Ridge City Council spent almost six hours over the course of two days interviewing candidates to become the next City Manager. Now they will take two weeks to deliberate before announcing its decision at the March 14 council meeting.
On Friday night at the conclusion of a special called meeting in which three candidates were interviewed, Mayor Brian Williams explained that the final item on the agenda was “discuss/take action” on selecting the next City Manager. He said he didn’t want to restrict the actions of the council if it wanted to make a decision on the hiring immediately.
Williams went on to say the council had the option to appoint a new city manager, pare the number from four to two, or even re-open the application process if the council was not satisfied with the quality of candidates.
“I don’t want to delay the hiring,” Williams told his colleagues, “but I don’t want to expedite it either.”
A consensus was reached that city staff should prepare a salary and benefits package by next Friday which could be offered to whichever candidate may be chosen.
“We get all the benefits together first, instead of offering them the job and letting them dictate to us what they want,” Councilman Jacky Cagle said.
In the brief discussion following almost four hours of interviews, three council members said they had a pretty good idea of who they might like to hire as the new city manager. Council members Mike Chauncey and Aundie Witt spoke highly of David Milliron.
“Milliron was very impressive,” said Chauncey. “He seems like a good fit.”
Witt said Milliron was “on the top of my list, too.” She liked the fact that Milliron talked about working with “focus groups” in his past employment.
Vice Mayor Esther Helton said that she had “a good idea on who I would like to hire.” She told the board that she was undecided on who her second choice may be.
Chauncey asked Helton if she would tell the board who her top choice was. Helton declined to do so.
Neither Williams nor Cagle gave any indication who they might favor.
“It’s important that we get the right captain for our ship,” Williams said, alluding to several references by candidates during the interviews that the city is a ship that needs to be steered in the right direction.
Interviews with the four finalists for the job began on Thursday as the council interviewed Lyndon Bonner, during its regular meeting.
According to his resume, Bonner has a Masters Degree in Business Administration and over 25 years of private and public administrative experience. His local government experience includes responsibilities for managing budget and finance, public safety, utilities, public works, capital improvement projects, parks and recreation, building services, facilities management, human resources, information technology and code enforcement.
On Friday the council interviewed Caryn Miller, David Milliron and Christopher Dorsey.
Miller, who holds a Masters Degree in Public Administration, is an accredited City Manager through the International City Managers Association. In a letter to East Ridge city officials, Miller writes that she has extensive experience in downtown redevelopment and has secured millions of dollars in grants to accomplish redevelopment.
She lists her areas of expertise as grant writing, strategic planning, human resources, finance and budget, project and operations management and economic development/redevelopment.
Milliron holds a Masters Degree in Public Administration. He wrote in a resume cover letter to East Ridge officials that he has more than 30 years of management experience in the private and public sectors. His private sector experience, he writes, “includes a multi-functional background in finance and local funding methods, public utilities, economic development, urban planning and strategic planning.”
Milliron has been the Hogansville, Ga. City Manager since September of 2017. Hogansville has a population of 3,200 people and a budget of $12 million. Milliron also serves as the Public Works and Utilities Director overseeing electric, natural gas, water, waste water and sanitation services.
Dorsey holds a Masters Degree in Public Administration and is a Certified Municipal Finance Officer.
Dorsey is currently the City Administrator of Sparta, Tenn., a position he has held since May of 2015. Sparta has a budget of $5 million and employs 123 people. He formerly served as City Manager in Red Bank (2005-11) and briefly at Signal Mountain.
In his application for the East Ridge position, Dorsey lists his key accomplishments during his tenure in Sparta as coordinating a $1 million Multi-Modal Transportation Project that modernized U.S. Hwy. 70 with curbs, gutters and sidewalks. He said that he worked with affected businesses to address concerns on project design.
The city manager’s job became open when J. Scott Miller announced in September that he would retire effective the first week of November of 2018. The city began taking applications in September. Officials said more than 45 people applied for the job.
The University of Tennessee’s Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS) assisted with the process by identifying the eight top candidates for the position. The council determined it would interview six. However, when those candidates were contacted, two of them had either dropped out or found other positions.