Staff photo by Emily Crisman / The Signal Mountain Town Council discusses the town manager position on May 18, 2022. From left are interim Town Manager James Smith, Vice Mayor Susannah Murdock, Mayor Charles Poss and council members Andrew Gardner, Vicki Anderson and Elizabeth Baker.

Note: This story was updated at 8:50 p.m. with new information.

The Signal Mountain Town Council voted unanimously Wednesday night to hire Elaine Brunelle as its interim town manager for the next year after recent hire Josh Ray decided he didn't want the job.

A special meeting was called for Wednesday to discuss the town manager position and authorize the termination of the employment agreement between the town and Josh Ray that was entered into last month.

"Less than one week after we signed the contract, I discovered that Josh was actively pursuing employment with another city," Mayor Charles Poss said at the meeting Wednesday. "I told Josh that the town council wanted a town manager who was committed to our town and wanted to be there."

Poss said Ray informed him that he does not want to commit to working for Signal Mountain and agreed to terminate the employment contract.

Ray most recently served as 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.

Brunelle, a resident of the town, previously applied for the job and was among the candidates selected by the town council to be interviewed but withdrew her name from consideration for personal reasons, Poss said.

"We may have just gotten really fortunate with all this because we're really going to end up with somebody that's going to help us move forward and be there for staff who has a track record of being a fantastic manager," Councilman Andrew Gardner said.

The meeting was recessed briefly and Poss confirmed with Brunelle that she will accept the position and will start June 7.

The town manager position has been vacant since Boyd Veal retired in December 2021. Veal had served in the role since his hiring in February 2014.

Contact Emily Crisman at or 423-757-6508.

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