Kingsport names community and government relations officer

J. H. Osborne • Feb 2, 2007 at 8:45 AM

KINGSPORT - The Model City has a new community and government relations officer.

Tim Whaley got the job, City Manager John Campbell said Friday afternoon.

Whaley, a former Times-News reporter who listed Jonesborough as his home address on his application for the $60,000-per-year job at City Hall, was one of about eight or nine people interviewed for the position, Campbell said.

The city advertised the job in late December and received 37 applications before the search closed. Five of those applications came from city employees.

Applications submitted for the job, on file at Kingsport's Human Resources Department upstairs at City Hall, are public record and were examined by the Times-News last week.

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.

The city has had a community relations-type position for decades. Dave Light has held the position since the mid-1990s. In December he was promoted to assistant to the city manager, and Campbell decided to add "government relations" to the title when the search for Light's successor began.

Campbell told the Times-News he made the move to address a longtime concern of Model City leaders - their perception that Johnson City does a better job of getting lawmakers' attention.

Campbell said he interviewed three city employees who sought the job, and "five or six" of the outside applicants.

"They all did pretty well," Campbell said. "I just felt like Tim's background as a journalist, in combination with what he had done in terms of working with state and federal officials and being part of the system really having dealt with a lot of local issues - particularly, in his four or five years with Frist - were very valuable to us."

Whaley's prior work experience: Aug. 6 to Dec. 6, 2006 - field director, Tennessee Republican Party; March 2006 to August 2006 - campaign manager, (Richard) Venable for Congress; and September 2002 to March 2006, field representative, Sen. Bill Frist.

From 1995 to 2002, Whaley worked as a reporter for the Times-News, covering various government and political beats.

He'll begin his full-time position at City Hall next week, Campbell said.

His starting salary is $59,810.

The salary range for the position, under the city's pay plan, is $58,500 to $80,000.

"We try to start people in the first two or three steps (of the city's pay plan)," Campbell said.

Campbell said he was "real impressed" with Whaley's recent work developing a usage policy for the city's cable television channel.

Whaley did that work as a contracted worker for the city, beginning about Dec. 14.

"We'll wrap that up real quick and immediately start looking at how we present our legislative agenda," Campbell said.

In addition to government relations, the position is responsible for coordinating and maintaining day-to-day communications with members of the media and managing the city's Web site and government access channel, Charter Cable Channel 16.

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