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Norris city manager could be picked as soon as Monday

Council will begin interviews today

The Norris City Council at 6.p.m. today (Aug. 3) will begin interviewing six candidates chosen for consideration to be the new city manager, with more first interviews set to begin at the same time Thursday and Friday.

Second interviews with the finalists will take place at 10 a.m. Saturday, and the council will hold a special session at 6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 8, prior to the regular council meeting at 7 p.m., to make a final selection and an offer to the winning candidate.

The first applicant to interview will be Joshua Anderson, at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

A second applicant who was scheduled for interviewing Wednesday has withdrawn from consideration, so Anderson will be the only one on the schedule the first night, Mayor Chris Mutchell said.

On Thursday, Aug. 4, Charles Cory Jenkins will be interviewed at 6 p.m., followed by Joshua Ray at 7 p.m.

Friday’s schedule will include Phillip Robinette at 6 p.m., Sarah Foust at 7 p.m., and Gregory Scott Collins at 7:45 p.m.

For the initial interviews, the City Council on July 22 chose seven of the 47 candidates who applied for the position to replace Scott Hackler, who resigned effective June 27.

Mayor Chris Mitchell had asked that each council member choose a few applicants they wanted to grant interviews to, and when all of their choices were listed, the total came out to the seven. Councilmen Will Grinder and Robert Sain chose four each – with two candidates overlapping – while Mitchell picked Grinder’s four, and added three, two of whom were also on Sain’s list. The mayor added one who was not on Grinder or Sain’s list – Anderson County Commission Chairman Joshua Anderson.

No names were submitted by Councilman Bill Grieve, who said he would just go along with the seven the other three councilmen had already chosen

Councilwoman Loretta Painter was out of town on vacation and did not participate in the selection process.

Mitchell said some of those chosen for interviews have previous city manager experience, including one from Charlottesville, Virginia, and two from Tennessee.

Of those chosen for interviews, only Anderson and Foust live in the Norris area, the council members said. Anderson does not have any city manager experience, but has been chairman of the Anderson County Commission for the past two years. He is now a rural mail carrier for the U.S. Postal Service.

All of the meetings, including the interviews, are open to the public. But because of the legal issues involved with job interviews, the public will not be allowed to “engage in the interviews,” the mayor said.

Mitchell said he expects interviews to last from 30 minutes to an hour each, and the council will have a list of questions to ask the candidates.

The council decided that it would not make the questions available to the applicants in advance of the interviews.

“To me, it’s as much that they need to sell themselves” rather than just answer the council’s questions, Mitchell said.

Also during their July 22 special meeting, the council set the tentative salary range for the position to be from $75,000 to $110,000 annually, but left it open for negotiation if necessary to attract the preferred candidate for the job.

No salary range was mentioned in the advertisements the city posted for the position.

During a special meeting in late June, the council approved a list of qualifications for applicants that was included in advertisements that were placed through various media.

Among requirements for applicants as stated in the ad were at least a bachelor’s degree in business management or a related field, and experience in managing people. The ad also noted that the city manager would be expected to work longer than 40 hours per week, and that the extra work would not include overtime pay.

Hackler continues to perform some city administrative duties for a maximum of 10 hours a week until the end of August.

Hackler, who is 63, said he had experienced some recent health issues that led to his resignation.