KINGSPORT — The Board of Mayor and Aldermen made it official Tuesday night by unanimously appointing Jeff Fleming as Kingsport's next city manager.
"I'll do everything in my power to hold the public trust, to communicate transparently and help bring life to community dreams," Fleming said.
Last month, Fleming edged out 60 other applicants to succeed John Campbell as the city manager of Kingsport. Campbell plans to retire at the end of June after more than 30 years in city government and the past eight years with the Model City.
Fleming, a Kingsport native, has worked for the city the past 29 years, starting with an intern position while in college, then moving on to planner, senior planner, public works superintendent, administrative manager of utilities, GIS manager and finally to his current position of assistant city manager for development since 1999.
Fleming's wife, children, mother and other family members from Knoxville and Jefferson City were in attendance.
"Thanks to my family for your support and understanding of the life of a public servant," Fleming said. "You, too, have had to live in the public eye for many years. That's not easy, and I just want you to know how much I appreciate your willingness to stand by me in this journey. I love you all."
Fleming, the only internal candidate to apply for the city manager position, said the city's staff is the glue that holds Kingsport together and that no city manager can do the job alone.
"I've always been a proud member of Team Kingsport, and I look forward to helping you be the best you can be — so we can be the best we can be," Fleming said. "I think Kingsport's a pretty amazing place, so I'll carry the baton on this leg of the race and hope to pass it on to one of you in the future."
Fleming will be Kingsport's 11th city manager and the first succession candidate in 55 years.
"I'm sorry John's leaving, but I'm really excited about having you," Alderwoman Colette George said.
"The future couldn't be brighter," Alderman Tom Segelhorst said.
"I don't know anybody who loves Kingsport more than you," said Vice Mayor Mike McIntire. "When love is involved, we're in for a great future."
Mayor Dennis Phillips said Kingsport is fortunate to have a person of Fleming's caliber step into the city manager's position.
"You'll do a great job," Phillips said.
The mayor continued by saying Campbell would not be going too far, joking how he already had a list of things for Campbell to work on after retirement.
"John Campbell is the best city manager this city has ever had," Phillips said. "The city is absolutely a better place because John Campbell has been here."
Former city attorney Joe May, who contracts with Kingsport from time to time, has been tapped to negotiate an employment contract with Fleming, which will include salary, retirement contribution and likely vehicle and home office allowances.
May said a contract should be done by the BMA's next regular meeting on May 20.
The Municipal Technical Advisory Service (a state agency that advises Tennessee cities) conducted the search for Kingsport at no cost.comments powered by Disqus