Norris city manager applicants cut to 10

Initial interviews of candidates for the Norris city manager job are being scheduled for three days next week.

The City Council on Monday night chose 10 of about 40 new applicants to extend interview invitations to, and set a revised schedule for culling the choices to a single candidate who will be offered the job.

In accordance with the council’s earlier decisions, the candidates mostly have both city manager and city financial officer experience. They include several candidates from Tennessee and nearby areas of Kentucky, but also some from as far away as Ohio, Florida, Michigan and Maine.

Candidates selected for interviews were Rebecca Erwin of Nashville, Charles Ledford of Kentucky, Robbi Stivers of Ohio, Cary Haggard of Morristown, Adam Thompson of Florida, Carlo Pilgrim of Maine, Elke Doom of Michigan, Matthew Goss of Kentucky, Colin Eichenmuller of Knoxville, and Bailey Whited of Knoxville.

Interviews are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 20, in the City Council chambers, and candidates from long distances are being offered the opportunity to interview remotely.

More interviews will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 21, and Thursday, Sept. 22. Then second interviews of potential finalists are to be held beginning at 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 23.

The council expects to decide who will be offered the position during a special council meeting at 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 26, and then to review the candidate’s response and make a counteroffer, if necessary, at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 28.

If further deliberations are necessary, the council will hold another special meeting at 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30.

The person chosen for the job is expected to replace Scott Hackler, who resigned in mid-June.

This is the City Council’s second attempt to find a new city manager.

After the council’s chosen candidate turned down the job Aug. 8, the council voted to reopen the selection by advertising again for applicants, and the deadline for new candidates to apply was noon Friday, Sept. 9.

Then on Monday, during the September regular council meeting, the council members chose the candidates to invite for interviews.

Council members don’t expect a new city manager to take the job until sometime in late October, however, as the candidate may have to work out a notice at another job, and perhaps will need time to relocate to the Norris area.

When the previously selected applicant turned down the job on Aug. 15, the council voted during a special session that night to reopen its search by posting a new advertisement in various media.

That came even though there was still a pool of possible candidates left over from the initial period of advertising for a city manager beginning in late June. The council changed the job description slightly, and raised the salary range to $80,000 to $125,000 annually.

No salary range was given in the first ad, but the council later set the range for the first applicants to $75,000 to $110,000, and had offered their first finalist $108,000 a year.,

In the meantime, Norris resident Joe Deatherage is serving as part-time interim city manager until a permanent replacement is hired.

Deatherage is working for minimum wage, he and the council decided. He also filled in as interim city manager six years ago for about three-and-a-half months.

“I was working eight hours a day then, but I’m going to be 89 years old this October, so I don’t want to do that again,” he said at the Aug. 15 council meeting.