Kenny Custer, the Director of City Services, will assume the duties of City Manager when Scott Miller retires in November.
In a special called meeting Wednesday evening, the East Ridge City Council passed on first reading an ordinance that attaches the title of Assistant City Manager to the Director of City Services position. The increased responsibility will take that position’s salary from $64,000 to $78,000, approximately the salary of the Police Chief and Fire Chief. While Custer is actually performing the duties of City Manager, he will receive an additional $1,000 per month in pay.
Custer said after the meeting that he was “excited” to take on the new responsibility and looked forward to serving the 21,000 people of East Ridge as the city moves forward.
Several months ago Miller announced that he would retire effective October 26. He had been grooming Custer to serve as interim City Manager for more than a year.
In last week’s regular City Council meeting, the board grappled with naming a person as an interim city manager during the process of hiring someone to replace Miller. The debate centered on the question of creating a new position in the organizational chart or simply attaching the title of Assistant City Manger to an existing position. Ultimately the council tabled the item with the intent of addressing it during a special called meeting.
The City Charter dictates that at least 13 days must pass before a second reading and adoption of a new ordinance. A second special called meeting will potentially be held on November 2 to finalize the ordinance and turn the daily operations of the city over to Custer.
Miller agreed to push back his effective retirement date a week.
Officials said the city has received more than 40 resumes from people interested in becoming the next City Manager of East Ridge. Miller told the council that he estimated the hiring process to take three or four months, during which time Custer as Assistant City Manager would be in charge.
As Director of City Services, Custer has direct supervisory authority over numerous departments in the city including Codes Enforcement and Animal Services. He is also the city’s Chief Building Official and Fire Marshal. He also represents the city on the Hamilton County Water and Wastewater Treatment Authority.