Search for new Kingsport city manager goes live

Matthew Lane • Feb 4, 2014 at 11:33 AM

KINGSPORT — Kingsport will officially begin advertising its city manager position today.

Pat Hardy, with the Municipal Technical Advisory Service (the state agency assisting Kingsport with its search for a new city manager), gave a status report on the search process to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen on Monday.

“I’ll start hitting the phones tomorrow,” Hardy said.

The position will be listed on MTAS’ website, in all of the major trade journals and large recruiting firms across the country, Hardy added.

City Manager John Campbell announced in December he would be retiring effective June 30. Campbell has held the top spot in the Model City since August 2006 and has spent more than 30 years in city government, most notably as the city manager of Johnson City for 17 of those years.

After hearing presentations from MTAS and the Mercer Group (a private search firm specializing in public sector employees), the BMA last month decided to go with MTAS. Established in 1949 by the Tennessee General Assembly, MTAS provides technical advice and research to cities and towns across the state.

Each member of the BMA met individually with Hardy last month and provided him with a list of qualities they would like to see in Kingsport’s next city manager.

The most important skills and characteristics desired by the BMA at this time include good budgeting and fiscal management skills, excellent communication skills, a proven track record in economic and regional development, the ability to develop and implement an innovative strategic plan and extensive leadership and personnel management skills.

Hardy took the information provided by the BMA and compiled it into a profile packet, which also includes specific information about Kingsport — a brief history, current demographics and statistics, and the city manager’s duties as per Kingsport’s charter.

“What I’ve tried to do is to provide information of what it is like to work here, what the community is about and then go into some specifics of the job itself,” Hardy said.

The profile packet outlines the qualifications for the city manager position and the management style candidates should have in order to be considered. Hardy passed out a copy of the eight-page profile packet to the BMA during a work session Monday afternoon for their review.

Hardy said he would finalize the packet Monday evening and begin advertising the position on Tuesday. Candidates will have about a month to apply with all applications being forwarded to MTAS.

“My goal is to bring you, in the end, a list of 10 to 12 candidates who fit the bill. Then we’ll discuss who you want to bring to town to interview,” Hardy said.

Mayor Dennis Phillips said he was not certain including Campbell’s current salary in with the profile packet is something he agrees with. Campbell’s salary is approximately $159,000 and with benefits, total compensation is approximately $175,000.

Hardy said the reason why the salary is included is to give potential candidates a sense of whether or not they want to come to Kingsport.

“Including the salary self-weeds candidates,” Hardy said. “If you don’t put in a salary, you’ll get another 100 resumes, people you probably don’t want to hire.”

On that note, the BMA agreed to include a listing on the salary of “up to $159,000 plus benefits.”

Phillips also suggested Kingsport’s next city manager be able to sit down with Campbell during the budget process this year, if a candidate could be selected by the first of May.

Hardy said that would be “very do-able.”

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