Chris McCartt, a 10-year city employee, has been named assistant to the city manager in Kingsport, replacing Dave Light who retired recently. David Grace photo.
KINGSPORT — Development Services Manager Chris McCartt has been named Kingsport’s new assistant to the city manager, thus filling a vacant spot on the city’s 11-man leadership team.
City Manager John Campbell made the announcement earlier this week, praising all of the candidates who applied for the position.
“Once again, I find myself deeply impressed with both the quality of internal applicants already employed by the city as well as with those in the community who desire to work for city government,” Campbell said. “It was a very difficult decision personally, but the depth of the talent pool available to the public and private sector speaks strongly about the long-term future of our city.
“At the same time, this is a key juncture in the future of Kingsport, with a number of strategic investments either under way or in development by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen. The assistance of quality staff like Chris will only help the community reach our shared goals in an efficient and cost-effective manner.”
McCartt, who has been with the city for the past 10 years, has been development services manager since January 2006, overseeing a variety of functions including planning, transportation planning and mass transit.
McCartt has also played a key role in shepherding the Kingsport Landing project along the Holston River and will continue to oversee that project as well as mass transit.
In addition to carryover duties, McCartt will serve as the city’s Hope VI and downtown liaison, assist the city manager in the handling of citizen concerns, and coordinate special projects as assigned by the city manager.
“I look forward to helping citizens, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen and the city manager shape a bright future for the city of Kingsport,” McCartt said. “Kingsport has been very good to me and my family, and this is truly an honor to serve in an increased capacity as we continue working to make Kingsport the best place to be.”
McCartt earned an undergraduate degree in geography and a master’s degree in public administration from East Tennessee State University. He lives in Kingsport with his wife and two children and is an active member of First Baptist Church.
“Chris was a cornerstone of our development services staff, and he will be an even greater asset to the organization in his new role,” Assistant City Manager for Development Jeff Fleming said. “He is a proven self-starter with a solid track record for successfully completing complex projects, such as the Broad Street enhancement project and Kingsport Landing.”
Campbell created the assistant to the city manager position in December 2006, soon after coming on board with the city. Campbell promoted former Community Relations Director Dave Light to the position, which he held until his retirement in November.
Kingsport advertised the position in December and accepted applications through Dec. 14. McCartt beat out 25 other candidates for the position, including two other city employees.
Before retiring, Light suggested to Campbell he should think about beginning the process of grooming a successor. Could it be McCartt?
McCartt said he does not have his eye on the city manager’s position at this time.
“I am comfortable in the role I am in and will continue to absorb a lot of information and knowledge of how the city operates and how public administration operates,” he said. “I am a firm believer in succession planning, and I really feel like that’s one of the goals for the city. We need to be looking throughout our organization in grooming folks we see as our rising stars and future leaders.”
A move that could construed as Campbell grooming a successor took place last year, when Campbell suggested and received approval from the BMA for the creation of a new position — a deputy city manager position.
Campbell, who became city manager of Johnson City at the age of 35, said he anticipates starting the process of filling that position pretty soon.
“We had a couple of candidates who were former city and county managers and probably more suited for that position than the one Chris just filled,” Campbell said.