Committee to study city administrator position

Jamie Clary

A committee formed recently to study whether or not the city should hire a city administrator will hold its first meeting on Sept. 27 at Hendersonville City Hall.

The idea of hiring a city administrator to handle many of the day-to-day operations currently handled by the city’s mayor was proposed most recently in the spring during budget discussions by Ward 6 Alderman Matt Stamper.

Stamper, who proposed the city include $125,000 to $150,000 in its 2019 fiscal year budget for the position, later withdrew his proposal but suggested the city form an ad hoc committee to study the issue further.   

The city’s charter allows for a city administrator if seven members of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen vote to hire one.

Several other cities including Goodlettsville, Brentwood, Murfreesboro and Franklin, have fulltime city administrators and part-time mayors.

Following a recommendation from the city’s General Committee, BOMA members voted 10 to 2 Aug. 28 on an ordinance that establishes the special committee.

According to the ordinance, the five-member body will exist for a three-month period from Sept. 1 through Nov. 30. Committee members include Rick Fox, Rita Lea, former alderman John Prentiss, former Hendersonville Finance Director Jim Young, and Dana Swinea, a former assistant finance director for the city who is now the finance director for the city of Mt. Juliet.

Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS) Consultant Gary Jaeckel will serve as a consultant to the committee and its members.

The committee is charged with researching and advising BOMA on issues related to the city administrator position including but not limited to the position’s responsibilities, authority and salary, according to the ordinance.

The committee is required to submit its report to the General Committee no later than Feb. 12, 2019, and has the option of including any recommendations based on its findings.

The idea of hiring a city administrator was first proposed in April of 2016 by then-Mayor Scott Foster – also during budget time. Stamper suggested the city form an ad hoc committee that year after Foster pulled his proposal due to lack of support from board members. The committee never formed, and Jamie Clary was elected mayor in November of 2016.  

Clary has said he is against the city hiring a city administrator, arguing it would diminish the role of a popularly elected mayor.

At the committee’s first meeting, scheduled for 7 p.m. on Sept. 27, it will elect a chairman, vice-chairman and secretary. Jaeckel is also scheduled to give a presentation about how the role of a city administrator is used in other cities.    

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