Signal Mountain Town Manager Honna Rogers recently announced her resignation after five years in the position. The job, she said in a press release, is very demanding, and she wants to have more time to spend with her 13-month-old son.
"It was a very hard decision for me to leave; I truly enjoy my job," Rogers said. "In this season of my life I need to do more for [my son]."
Rogers was known as the youngest full-time town manager in Hamilton County when she was hired in 2008 and has one of the longest tenures as a town manager in the area.
She said she has committed to stay on until the completion of the 2013-2014 budget draft, which will most likely be in mid-April. In the meantime, she said she is exploring other job opportunities that are less demanding of her time.
"I enjoy working, so I don't want to stop working completely," said Rogers. "If I am offered another job, I may leave when that happens. If not, I might stay into May [when the 2013-2014 budget will be read]."
Town of Signal Mountain Mayor Bill Lusk said the hiring process for a new city manager may last until the end of May or early June.
"I'd rather take more time than less to make sure we have the right candidate," he said. "We don't want to settle for any lower quality than Honna. We hate to lose her."
The Town Council, which is responsible for hiring the new manager, will bring in the help of the Municipal Technical Advisory Service for the interview process, as well as previous interim Signal Mountain town manager and former Fayetteville town manager Lynn Wampler to consult during the process. After advertising to fill the position, they will narrow the applicants down to the top three, who will be personally interviewed by the Council for the position.
Lusk also said the Council won't exclude internal candidates for the open town manager position.
He added the Council will be looking at several qualifications, from experience with and knowledge of local government to education background that is specific to municipal government. Rogers said from her experience, the top qualifications a candidate would need to take over the job include good people skills and a willingness to learn.
"I think people skills is very important because you are the face of the town," Rogers said. "You need to be able to work with everyone from the business owner to the resident who is having trouble paying their water bill, and switch between roles."
Both Lusk and Rogers said some ongoing business and challenges a new manager will have to face include the reduction of Hall income tax the town receives as well as the ongoing sewer moratorium. More immediately, said Rogers, the planned unit development proposed by Jack Kruesi of High Acres Inc. is a big topic for the town.
When it comes to her work as town manager for the past five years, Rogers said she is very proud of the vehicle replacement fund that will ensure the safety of employees as well as stop fluctuations within the budget.
"I am also proud of the relationships that I feel I formed with the employees; I always tried to listen to them," said Rogers.
She said she and her family will remain residents of the mountain and perhaps, in the future, she will become involved again in the town's government.
"Definitely going forward in the future I see myself getting involved in some way," she said. "But I feel it will be best for the new manager if I step back for a little while."