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Staff Photo by Emily Crisman / The Signal Mountain Town Hall is shown on April 25, 2022.

The Signal Mountain Town Council selected Josh Ray as its new town manager Monday following a nationwide search lasting several months.

Ray has about 20 years of experience as a city manager, Councilman Andrew Gardner said at a town meeting Monday night.

(READ MORE: Signal Mountain manager requests removal of founder's monument over 'earned' racist reputation)

Most recently, Ray was city manager of Shelbyville, Tennessee, from January 2021 until March 2022, when the Shelbyville City Council fired him in a closed meeting without giving the reason for his dismissal, the Shelbyville Times-Gazette reported.

Ray sent a proposed contract to Signal Mountain Town Attorney Harry Cash Monday morning, but he has not yet accepted the position.

"If we can work these details out in the contract, he's in," Mayor Charlie Poss told the council at the meeting.

In the proposed contract, Ray asks for reimbursement of up to $10,000 to cover costs of his move from Shelbyville, including movers, moving expenses, storage, travel expenses and temporary housing.

(READ MORE: Signal Mountain postpones decision on removal of James monument)

Some council members said $10,000 was too much for a short-distance move from Shelbyville, which is only about 100 miles from Signal Mountain.

Councilwoman Elizabeth Baker said she would like to specify the amounts the town is willing to reimburse for specific expenses, rather than agreeing to cover up to a certain amount for a variety of expenses, some of which she said she feels may not be the town's responsibility.

"I'd like to see that broken down a little bit, because $10,000 I just think is not in the budget," she said.

Council members agreed to offer up to $3,500 in moving expenses and up to $1,800 a month for temporary housing for up to three months.

Ray is also asking for a car allowance of $650 per month, a phone allowance of $80 per month and 12 months' severance with health insurance. His proposed salary is $115,000, Cash said.

The town council scheduled a meeting for Thursday at 5 p.m. to vote on the town manager's contract if he chooses to accept the position, which has been vacant since former Town Manager Boyd Veal retired in December 2021.

Veal had remained in the role since his hiring in February 2014.

Contact Emily Crisman at ecrisman@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6508.

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