City taxpayers will foot the bill for the winning applicant's $58,000- to $80,000-per-year salary. City officials say that's an investment which should produce returns in the form of better and increased contact with state and federal lawmakers and governmental agencies.
The goal is to keep the issues important to the Model City at the forefront of action and help steer them along in the process.
"It will enhance the city's ability to advance major projects such as the higher education center, Kingsport on the Holston, and various transportation needs," said Dave Light.
Light has been the city's community relations officer for years. Last month, City Manager John Campbell announced Light's promotion to a new position: assistant to the city manager.
At the same time, Campbell announced the addition of "government" to the title of the position being vacated by Light.
The city advertised the job locally and closed the application process after about two weeks.
That deadline was last week.
Light said Campbell will begin to interview applicants who make the first cut as soon as possible.
The winning applicant will need to be someone who can work closely with Campbell, Light said.
Applications were received from a wide geographic area, from Alabama to Northern Virginia as well as from across Tennessee, Light said.
Requirements for the job, as advertised, include a bachelor's degree in public administration, public relations, journalism or communications and a minimum of five years experience in public relations, preferably in government.
Light said multiple applicants appear to be well-qualified for the position, based on those requirements. Several applicants appear to have "significant" experience, Light said.
That seems to match expectations voiced by Campbell last month, although he said he had no one in mind for the job.
"My experience has been when I have that kind of position open in the past, we've had some outstanding applicants," Campbell said.
In addition to being more proactive in government relations, Light's replacement will be the day-to-day community relations person for the city, dealing with local media, the city's revamped Web site and Channel 16 public access channel.