Search is on again for SF city manager
By: By CHRIS MENEES Messenger Staff Reporter
The search is on again for someone to fill the South Fulton city manager’s position.
Ralph Wise — the Kansas City, Kan., applicant the South Fulton City Commission recently voted to hire — has decided he will not accept the position due to “personal reasons,” according to South Fulton Mayor Ron Haskins.
The commission had already granted its approval to a salary and other issues pertaining to his employment during a called meeting last week.
In the aftermath of Wise’s decision, Haskins asked his fellow commissioners for some guidance during Thursday evening’s monthly city commission meeting, held at the South Fulton Municipal Complex.
Commissioner Charles Moody suggested Haskins contact a certain applicant from northwest Tennessee whose resumé was received after commissioners conducted several interviews last month. No deadline for applications was ever specified by the commission, with applications to be accepted until the job is filled.
Commissioner David Crocker said he would like to “open it back up” to some of the previous applicants who were interviewed. Vice Mayor “R.K.” Kane said he believes it would be fine to go back and re-interview some of the applicants, adding that commissioners have “some good candidates” from which to choose.
Crocker said he would also like to see the commission re-examine some of the local applicants who have ties to the South Fulton area. Kane said none of the applicants have been eliminated unless they specifically withdrew their names from consideration.
Haskins said if commissioners would like to designate three more applicants to call to appear before the panel for interviews, which is similar to what was done last month, he would at least like there to be consensus among them. Kane said commissioners could provide Haskins with the names of their choices this week or next week, but noted next week is not a good week to schedule interviews because of the Thanksgiving holiday. Haskins said he could still call the selected applicants to see if they are interested and available.
Haskins said the week after Thanksgiving could tentatively be targeted as the week for more interviews.
The South Fulton city manager’s position has been vacant since former city manager Kathy Dillon resigned effective Sept. 28 to begin work Oct. 1 as director of administration and accounting for the City of Union City. Haskins has been serving as interim city manager in the meantime.
In other action during Thursday evening’s meeting, which was opened with prayer by Moody and with the Pledge of Allegiance led by city attorney Karl Ivey, the commission:
• Heard concerns from Charles Parham, representing residents of the Milam Subdivision area, regarding a problem with blackbirds. He said it’s a health hazard, explaining that the large number of birds generate a huge amount of droppings on their property.
Parham said he has been to the Obion County Health Department and has information to provide to the commission, adding that he is joined by several neighbors and believes the city can do something to help them. He also provided information from the Tennessee Department of Agriculture in regard to the use of various devices to disperse the birds.
“I’m upset about it,” he said, urging the commission to review the information to see what options are available to help residents of Milam Subdivision and other areas of the city where blackbirds are also a problem.
• Heard from resident Gary Robertson regarding a problem with a house and property allegedly being used by the Humane Society to shelter dogs. He said the dogs kept him awake after they started to bark at 10:30 Wednesday night and didn’t quit until 3:30 Thursday morning. He said he plans to call police the next time as soon as the barking starts but noted the dogs seldom bark all night long as they had the previous night.
Ivey explained to commissioners that the house in question was deeded to the Humane Society by a woman who has died. He said the Humane Society has been paying for the utilities and upkeep of the house. Haskins said he doesn’t know if the property is zoned for such use, however, and brought up concerns that no one actually resides at the property and that the dogs may not be properly tagged.
“I don’t think that’s quite legal,” Haskins said.
Ivey indicated he will speak with Humane Society contact Lois Birk regarding the complaint.
• Granted a resident’s request to take over part of an alley at 801 Tennessee St., with the stipulation the city be given easement rights if ever needed. Haskins said the property is actually a little strip with a ditch and public works director Hubert Maynard said the resident wants to be able to keep the area clean.
• Took no action regarding the city’s natural gas contract. Haskins said he hasn’t yet received the contracts from Constellation New Energy’s representative as expected. He provided commissioners with some statistics and other information, though.
• Approved a requirement to copy residents’ vehicle registrations when they apply for city stickers, which will provide necessary information.
• Voted 4-1 to waive utility tap fees for new home construction as long as it is completed within an 18-month period, a move suggested as an incentive to promote construction and as something that will benefit both the city and potential home builders. Moody cast the dissenting vote.
• Heard about Cavitt Street property that Haskins said is “not livable” and is owned by an Illinois woman who has continued to pay property taxes on it for some 20 years. Haskins said the owner wants to see if she can have the taxes waived. Ivey said the city cannot waive taxes, but suggested she could get the property value reduced to zero in order to pay taxes on only the worth of the lot. Kane said if the owner no longer wants the property, she could perhaps deed it to Habitat for Humanity for use by the Christian home-building organization.
Haskins said he will check into the situation further.
• Voted to require that all items purchased by city personnel for city use be assigned purchase orders and go through the mayor until a city manager is in place, unless it is an emergency situation. The action was approved after Kane expressed concern about expenses generated by the many trips to various stores for supplies, as well as the time involved.
Staff Reporter Chris Menees may be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com.
Published in The Messenger on 11.16.07
city manager, South Fulton