published Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

East Ridge has 9 city manager finalists

CITY MANAGER CANDIDATES

Chris Dorsey

Scott Randall

Gerald McGee

Allen May

Clarence Hulse

Kenneth Creque

Jim Coleman

Tracy Byard

Kenneth Weaver

The former city manager of Red Bank has applied for the same job in East Ridge.

Chris Dorsey is among nine qualified candidates for the position, according to East Ridge records.

The East Ridge City Council met Monday evening to discuss how it wants to fill the position, which has been open since Tim Gobble resigned Feb. 7. Since then, the city received 82 applications, only nine of whom hold the bachelor's degree in public administration that is required to become the East Ridge city manager.

Of the nine candidates, Dorsey has the most local ties. He was the Red Bank city manager for about six years before its council fired him in 2011 amid disputes about personnel decisions.

Dorsey is the budget director in Pasco County, Fla. He held a similar position for 18 years in Memphis and was praised by Red Bank councilmen for his financial expertise when he worked for the city.

Dorsey said he is familiar with East Ridge. He used to communicate with all the city managers of this area's municipalities.

"It's a great network," he said. "I would really love to be back in the Chattanooga region."

During its meeting Monday, the East Ridge council passed two motions: one related to the next manager's pay, one related to his or her car.

As the search proceeds, the city will offer its next manager $90,000-$105,000 annually.

This motion passed 3-2, with Councilman Denny Manning and Vice Mayor Jim Bethune against it. Bethune wanted the pay range to be $90,000-$95,000. The higher the upper part of that range, he said, the more money candidates expect.

Bethune asked what will happen if the council or the next manager wants to settle on a salary outside that pay range. Is that allowed? Not unless the council passes another motion.

"You want to give them more?" Councilman Marc Gravitt asked before chuckling.

"I want to give them less," Bethune said. "We're already giving them too much."

When the city hired Gobble in 2011, it gave him $116,000 annually. This fiscal year, which ends June 30, he made $125,000.

In a unanimous vote, the council also approved a plan for the next manager's car. He or she can drive a city-owned Volkswagen Passat or receive $4,200 a year from East Ridge to cover the cost of driving his or her own car for city business.

The council wants to move quickly; Gravitt said it hopes to hire a manager by May 1. City Attorney Hal North will ask the nine candidates to send him copies of their college diplomas to confirm that they, in fact, hold bachelor's degrees in public administration.

Then, the council will interview the candidates through Skype next week before setting up a second interview in person with the candidates they like best.

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