John Campbell looks over budget numbers from previous years with Judy Smith at City Hall in Kingsport.
KINGSPORT — City Manager John Campbell is trying real hard to find a house in the Model City, and he is supposed to do so by the end of September.
Campbell came on board as Kingsport’s city manager on Oct. 1, 2006, and under the terms of his contract, Campbell had to request annexation within six months or move into the city within two years.
Campbell, who lives in the Warrior Falls subdivision in Sullivan County, said he did request annexation soon after coming on board but told planners not to do anything with the request until he saw what was happening with the subdivision.
Campbell’s house in Johnson City sold in July and took much longer than he thought it would.
“We sold it the last of July, and that was a lot longer to do than I thought it would be. But I didn’t anticipate Johnson City’s slump in the housing market,” he said. “I had two false starts, and the finance company delayed us four times before (it) closed on the final deal.”
Now, Campbell said he’s “trying real hard” to find a house in Kingsport.
“It’s better now that I sold my house in Johnson City. We never stopped looking, but we couldn’t afford to have three houses, obviously.”
Campbell said the day Kingsport offered him the city manager’s position, he and his wife were literally moving from their home in Johnson City to their current house in Warrior Falls.
Technically, the BMA could fire Campbell for being in violation of his contract. However, that doesn’t seem likely.
“The (BMA) has been very reasonable and understanding,” Campbell said. “Several board members said in the past it’s not a major problem. It’s not a case of someone new to town or purposefully living outside the city limits.
“We’re looking forward to doing something pretty soon.”
Campbell’s home is located in Kingsport’s urban growth boundary and is on city water and sewer. For the first time in his life, he said he is without municipal police and fire protection.
Campbell jokingly said he could always move in with his in-laws and technically be “moved” into the city.
“We’re eagerly looking to get closer to (my wife’s) parents and be closer in. In our case, we’re looking for our retirement home,” Campbell said. “I forced (my wife) to move last time, and she’s frustrated because she feels like she can’t do anything to (the current house).
“I hope (the BMA) wouldn’t rush because it looks like in the general area we want, we may have to build.”
Campbell, who graduated from Dobyns-Bennett High School and the University of Tennessee – Knoxville, served more than 24 years with Johnson City, including almost 17 years as city manager, before he retired in 2001. Before taking the city manager position in Kingsport, Campbell served a year as the director of NETWORKS – Sullivan Partnership.