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Kingsport mayor says BMA should once again exercise hiring power now held by city manager

November 18th, 2013 10:56 pm by Matthew Lane

Kingsport mayor says BMA should once again exercise hiring power now held by city manager

KINGSPORT  —  Mayor Dennis Phillips said on Monday he would like to see Kingsport go back to the days when the Board of Mayor and Aldermen hired the police chief, city attorney and city recorder, rather than the city manager.

 Phillips made this surprise announcement at the end of a four-hour work session Monday afternoon, prefacing his comments by saying the suggestion is no reflection on City Manager John Campbell.

 “The reason is for checks and balances. If I or another board member wants to go talk to (City Recorder) Jim (Demming) or the chief or (City Attorney) Mike (Billingsley), their first obligation is to go to the city manager, and it creates a bad situation.”

 Phillips said the police chief, city recorder and city attorney should be able to talk to any member of the BMA without fear of retaliation.

 According to Kingsport’s charter, the BMA is responsible for hiring the city manager, who in turn is essentially responsible for every other city employee, including the city attorney, police chief and finance director.

For an expanded version of this article, please see Tuesday's print edition or our expanded electronic edition.

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