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Committee to set criteria for naming city facilities

Eddie Roberson

After deferring a vote earlier this year to rename Drakes Creek Park in honor of former Parks Director Dave LeMarbre, city leaders voted last week to establish an ad hoc committee to propose a plan for the naming of city structures and facilities.

Sponsored by Ward 6 Alderman Eddie Roberson, Ordinance 2021-23 establishes the Municipal Facilities Naming Committee with the mission of recommending legislation for guidelines and criteria for the naming of city structures.

Roberson first proposed establishing a committee to explore how the city should name structures and facilities in April during a discussion of a resolution sponsored by Ward 4 Alderman Steve Brown. Brown’s resolution to rename Drakes Creek Park the David J. LeMarbre Athletic Complex at Drakes Creek Park was recommended unanimously by the city’s parks board and was recommended 2 to 1 by the city’s General Committee. BOMA voted to defer the resolution after Roberson suggested forming a committee to study the issue.

LeMarbre worked for the city for 36 years, including 23 years as parks director before retiring in 2015. He was appointed interim city administrator in late 2019 after city leaders voted 7 to 6 to create the position that shifted oversight at City Hall from the mayor to an administrator who answers to the board.

The city has since done away with the city administrator position, and hired a chief of operations who answers to the mayor.

According to the new ordinance that passed on July 13, the naming committee will be charged with:

- Developing strategies and criteria to be considered for structures or facilities.

- Allowing for appropriate community input in the process of consideration of potential names

- Giving consideration to the importance of contributions of individuals or groups to the community

- Evaluating the desirability of geographically-descriptive names for certain types of facilities

- Taking other actions it determines are appropriate to accomplish its task

- Drafting a written proposal for city legislation to accomplish the mission of the naming committee

The committee will be comprised of seven members. They include:

- The mayor or a designee to serve as the chairman

- A member of the historic zoning commission who will be appointed by mayor

- A city resident who will be appointed by the mayor

- Vanessa Silkwood will represent the Hendersonville Regional Planning Commission

- Jeremiah Bennett will represent the Hendersonville Parks Board

- Ward 3 Alderman Russ Edwards will serve as the BOMA liaison

- An appointee of the Hendersonville League of Women Voters

Former County Commissioner and attorney Nancy Corley has been named to represent the League of Women Voters, according to Co-President Shelley Ames.

Clary said on Monday he hadn’t decided if he would chair the committee or if he would appoint someone else. He also said he had received a couple of emails from residents interested in serving, but hadn’t yet appointed a resident or a member of the historic zoning commission.

The committee has until Oct. 1 to submit proposed legislation to the city’s General Committee, according to the ordinance that passed 9 to 4.

Casting no votes for the legislation were Mark Skidmore and Peg Petrelli of Ward 1, Arlene Cunningham of Ward 3 and Rachel Collins of Ward 5.

When asked why she voted against the proposal, Collins said she felt like the issue was still very much about whether or not to rename the park in honor of LeMarbre, and that BOMA should make that decision rather than passing it on to a committee to make a recommendation.

“I feel like we’re putting our responsibility onto other people for political cover,” she said. “The idea to have guidelines is legitimate, but it still feels like a very political thing.”

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Montague recommended to become Vol State’s next president

The next president of Volunteer State Community College could be chosen as early as next week.

The Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) is scheduled to consider the appointment of Orinthia Montague as the college’s next president during a special-called meeting on July 27.

Montague, who has served as the president of Tompkins Cortland Community College in N.Y. since 2017, is being recommended for the position by TBR Chancellor Flora Tydings following a more than three-month search.

“My passion is about helping and giving hope to individuals,” Montague said during a public forum held at Vol State’s Gallatin campus on June 23. “I’m excited about the opportunity to work in a system… that gets the importance of community colleges and is poised to continue to serve their populations in a very unique way. What our students need from us is so varied and diverse and that’s my background – varied and diverse.”

During her time at Tompkins Cortland Community College, Montague helped reverse a decade-long enrollment decline, establish new community partnerships, led the construction of a new childcare center and secured more than $3 million in philanthropic donations, according to a news release.

Prior to that, she served as the dean of students at Normandale Community College in Minn. before becoming vice president of student affairs and chief diversity officer at the school. She has also worked at the University of Missouri – St. Louis along with several other education-related jobs in the St. Louis area.

Montague was among three finalists for the position who were selected by a search committee last month. The other candidates included San Antonio College Vice President for Academic Success Jothany Blackwood and Suffolk County Community College’s Ammerman Campus CEO Irene Rios.

Following separate campus visits and forums in late June, Tydings conducted interviews with each of the finalists and reviewed feedback from the public and campus communities before making her hiring recommendation.

“We are fortunate to have had an excellent pool of candidates and three outstanding finalists, each of whom could well serve the Vol State community as its next president,” Tydings said in a prepared statement about the selection process. “I believe that Dr. Montague was particularly well received during the campus forums and that her broad range of college leadership experience and work with students and her vision will help her lead Vol State to even higher levels in serving its students and its communities.”

If approved, Montague would become the fourth president in Vol State’s 50-year history. She would succeed Jerry Faulkner who announced earlier this year that he would retire as president of the school after more than nine years. His last day will be Aug. 31.

The comprehensive two-year public community college primarily serves 11 northern Middle Tennessee counties. In addition to its main campus in Gallatin, Vol State has additional campuses in Cookeville, Livingston and Springfield. The college has more than 450 full-time employees, including more than 180 full-time faculty members, and operates on a budget of more than $90 million.

The Tennessee Board of Regents meeting on Tuesday, July 27 will be held virtually using Microsoft Teams at 2:30 p.m. The meeting will be open to the public and live streamed and archived at www.tbr.edu. Anyone wishing to access to the virtual meeting itself should contact the Sonja Mason at sonja.mason@tbr.edu or call 615-366-3927 by 4:30 p.m. on Monday, July 26 for more information.

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Hendersonville HR director to resign

For the second time in less than three weeks, a department head has announced he’ll leave the city of Hendersonville’s employ after holding the permanent position for less than a year.

“It is with a heavy heart that I notify you of my intentions to resign my employment from the city of Hendersonville in the near future,” Human Resources Director Chris Taylor wrote in a resignation letter to Chief of Operations Jesse Eckenroth on July 14.

Taylor said that his wife was presented with “an incredible professional opportunity” through her employer that will require the two to move away from Middle Tennessee for a period of time.

“As much as I appreciate and will miss my work family in Hendersonville, this is an opportunity that we simply could not refuse,” he said.

He expects to leave his position in late August or early September, Taylor added.

Taylor notified the city’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen in an email on Monday, July 19.

“I am certainly humbled and consider it a great honor for the opportunity to have served this organization and all of the employees over the past six years,” he said.

Taylor was hired as assistant director of human resources in September 2015. He was named the interim human resources manager in February 2020 after former Human Resources Manager Peter Voss left the city to go to work for the Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS).

Taylor was promoted to the permanent position of human resources director in July of 2020 by Dave LeMarbre who was serving as interim city administrator. The city’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted 11-1-1 to confirm LeMarbre’s appointment with Mayor Jamie Clary abstaining from the vote and Ward 6 Alderman Jim Waters voting against it.

After his appointment, Taylor noted to the Hendersonville Standard the challenges his department faced during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“However, we have continued to move important initiatives forward including recruiting/hiring a city administrator, several key policy revisions, and online insurance open enrollments for the first time,” he said. “I am committed to helping lead our organization, through HR initiatives and transparency, to become the employer of choice in municipal government in Tennessee.”

Taylor is the second department head to resign the city’s employ in a three-week period.

Public Works Director Marshall Boyd resigned June 25. Boyd started his new job as county engineer for Sumner County’s Department of Development Services on July 12.

Like Taylor, Boyd had been named an interim director before accepting the permanent position in September 2020. City Engineer Sarah Lock is currently serving as the city’s interim public works director.

In his email to BOMA, Taylor said that he’s met with Eckenroth to discuss a plan of action moving forward for the Human Resources Department.

“My hope is that this city continues to support the Human Resource professionals that it employs as it is critical to the success of the organization, the employees and their families,” he added.

Chris Taylor