Budget story photo

About a dozen people rallied in protest at City Hall last week ahead of Tuesday’s budget vote to fully fund a city administrator position and cut the salary of the city’s mayor. No one spoke against the move, however, during Tuesday’s meeting. TENA LEE

Hendersonville leaders could interview two candidates for the city administrator position in mid-July, interim city administrator Dave LeMarbre told members of the city’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen on Tuesday.

Board members named LeMarbre to the interim position in December after voting to create the new position in May of 2019. The new position performs many of the day-to-day administrative duties once performed by the city’s mayor.

Leaders voted Tuesday on a 2020-21 fiscal year budget that includes a salary of around $150,000 for a city administrator while cutting the annual salary for the city’s mayor from around $100,000 to $43,000.

Board of Mayor and Aldermen members also voted on Tuesday to extend LeMarbre’s contract, which was set to expire at the end of June, through September.

Twenty-four people applied for the permanent city administrator position in January. Half of those who applied were eliminated by human resources personnel because they didn’t meet the minimum qualifications. A committee narrowed the list to five, and two candidates remain.

LeMarbre has said that the names of the two candidates won’t be released publicly until the board publicly interviews the candidates.

On Tuesday LeMarbre and Interim Human Resources Director Chris Taylor told board members to pencil in July 16 as a tentative date to interview each candidate in person.

“We have worked very hard to keep this part moving,” said Taylor, acknowledging that the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed the search by hampering the city’s ability to interview candidates for the position.

Also on Tuesday, board members voted unanimously to create separate IT and Human Resources departments. IT personnel had been under the city’s public works department while human resources had been under the city’s finance department.

The separation means that IT Director Mary Beth Ippich and Taylor, who is currently leading the human resources department, will report directly to the city administrator. The city’s IT department currently has five employees while the human resources department has four employees.

Board members also voted unanimously on Tuesday to move Rod Kirk, who has been serving as the city’s mayoral assistant for economic development, under the city’s planning department. The move removes Kirk’s duties as an assistant to the mayor and will allow him to focus solely on economic development, LeMarbre told board members on Tuesday.

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