In a 10-minute special called meeting on Friday, the East Ridge City Council adopted an ordinance on second reading that creates the position of Assistant City Manager.
The title of Assistant City Manager is tied to the position of Director of City Services, currently held by Kenny Custer. Custer will immediately assume the duties of interim city manager, as current City Manager Scott Miller’s retirement is effective at the end of the work day on November 2.
The new position/title will receive a salary of $78,000 annually. In addition, while acting as interim city manager, the person in the position – in this instance, Custer – will receive an additional $1,000 per month.
The motion to adopt the ordinance came from Councilman Brian Williams. It was immediately seconded by Councilwoman Esther Helton.
Councilman Jacky Cagle quickly muddied the waters by saying that there is no job classification and pay scale established for the position Director of City Service/Assistant City Manager.
“This ordinance is amending the existing ordinance and creating the position,” City Manager Miller said.
He said the existing pay scale for Director of City Services has been established between $56,000 per year and $84,000 a year. Custer’s new salary falls within that range, Miller said.
“All this ordinance does is amend the pay classification plan,” he said.
Cagle replied, “OK.”
During a roll-call vote, Cagle said, “I’ve got nothing against Kenny Custer but I’ve got a big concern with the pay. I’m gonna vote no.”
Helton and Williams voted in favor of the ordinance. Vice-Mayor Larry Sewell was absent from the meeting.
Mayor Brent Lambert said, “I think the world of Kenny Custer and I’m going to vote yes.”
Lambert then went on to laud the work of Miller in his two-plus years on the job.
“I’m going to miss this man terribly,” Lambert said. “It’s been an honor and a pleasure to have served with you.”
Miller said even though he is retiring from the city manager job, he will continue to live in East Ridge.
“I thank you for the privilege of serving the city for the past two-and-a-half years,” he said.
Diane Qualls, the city’s Finance Director, said Miller had been a great city manager.
“We’ve lost a great asset to this city,” she said.
Custer, an 18-year employee of the city, had previously stated that he is looking forward to the challenges of serving as the interim city manager and intends to keep moving the city forward while the City Council looks for another permanent city manager.
In previous meetings, officials said that it could take three to four months to hire a new permanent city manager. City officials said that more than 40 resumes have been submitted by individuals interested in becoming the next City Manager of East Ridge.