During Tuesday’s City Council Meeting, Hyatt said that he was taking another job He said he would honor the remainder of his contract with East Ridge through June 30.
“It’s been the worst kept secret in East Ridge that I have been on a job hunt,” Hyatt told the council. “An opportunity presented itself and I’ve taken another position in another city.”
Mayor Brent Lambert said Hyatt was a professional and that he appreciated the accomplishments the city has made under his tenure.
According to media outlets in Neptune Beach, Fla., Hyatt is taking the City Manger’s job there. Contract negotiations were finalized on Monday, according to The Island Times, an online newspaper North Florida.
The council passed by resolution the naming of Fire Chief Mike Williams as the Deputy City Manager. Williams would become the acting city manager upon Hyatt’s departure. Last week, during a special-called meeting, the council moved to strip City Treasurer and then-Deputy City Manager, Thad Jablonski, of the title.
City Attorney Hal North clarified the councils’ action.
“It’s my understanding that Mr. Hyatt intends to designate the Fire Chief as Deputy City Manager, as discussed last time,” North said. “It’s your (Hyatt’s) call.”
Hyatt nodded his assent at North’s statement.
North said that the council was “essentially giving its blessing” to Hyatt naming Williams as the Deputy City Manager. North reiterated that the process was needed in order to comply with the City Charter.
The council passed a variance on the city’s beer ordinance by a narrow, 3-2, margin, allowing Speedway on Ringgold Road to sell beer. The city’s beer board had denied a beer permit to one of the country’s largest convenience store chains because it was within 250 feet of a “public gathering place,” Pioneer Frontier playground.
In a rare break from protocol, Mayor Lambert allowed Mac Pendley _ a lifelong resident, member of the Crosspath at East Ridge, and a member of the city’s Industrial Development Board _ to speak in opposition to the variance.
Pendley said that the beer board denied the permit, so what use was having a beer board? He also said that if Speedway offered beer for sale that Crosspath church members would not be buying gasoline from the establishment.
Lambert asked representatives from Speedway about the store selling wine in the future, as citizens passed by referendum the sale of wine in grocery stores this coming year. The Speedway spokesman said the store was too small to sell wine and that they had no plans to do so.
Lambert then had City Attorney North quickly research the issue. Lambert said that state law would allow the sale of wine in store like Speedway in the future, so the variance allowing beer sales was not quite so critical.
Councilmen Denny Manning and Jacky Cagle voted against the variance, while Vice-Mayor Marc Gravitt, Councilman Sewell and the Mayor voted in favor.
The council voted on first reading to rezone a property at 322 Scruggs Rd., from Warehouse to Commercial. Representatives from a company called Cielo Environmental explained to the council that they wanted to open a facility there to provide compressed natural gas to power cars and trucks on the rezoned property.
The council _ which had to meet in a cramped community center meeting room, as Municipal Court was in session in the main council chambers _ tabled a number of measures before them. Those measures included discussing and voting on new insurance for employees; discussing and voting on second reading of a $10 million budget for the upcoming fiscal year, and the obligatory public hearing; excluding businesses from the Border Region district; and taking action on installing time clocks for city employees.