Hiring a new city manager, part 7

According to a story in today’s Mt. Juliet News (7-18-2007), the City Commission has six more candidates to consider. The candidates (and their current/most recent cities) are as follows:

William Way           California City, CA      8,385
Dave Jakubiak       Orchid, FL                       140
James Lee              Boliver, TN                   5,802
Randy Robertson  Ashland, KY                21,981
Percy Ashcraft      Caroline County, VA  22,121
Todd Thomas        Raymore, MO             11,146

Notes:

William Way is the only survivor from the first batch of twelve. California City is in the Mojave desert and, according to wikipedia, it has “one prison, one golf course, one airport, and one stoplight.” Its the closest city to Edwards Air Force Base. Hmm, yeah. Lots in common with Mt. Juliet. 

Dave Jakubiak may live in Jupiter FL and he may or may not be a banjo instructor, but the latest information via google was that he was town administrator in Orchid, FL. His contract there was not renewed in January of 2005, according to a story in a south FL newspaper.

 Jim Lee was city administrator in Bolivar until December of 2006. According to an article in the Jackson Sun, he turned in a resignation letter in July of 2006, apparently due to the election of a Mayor who wanted to be the full-time administrator of the City. According to the Memphis Commercial Appeal, there was also an investigation in 2002 into “lavish spending on travel” by officials of Bolivar.

Randy Robertson was the City Manager in Ashland, KY for about seven months. See story here.

Percy Ashcraft apparently lives in Ruther Glen, VA, but he’s the county administrator for Caroline County. He has at least one critic among the blogging world.

There is no Todd Thomas with the city government of Raymore, Mississippi. There is a Todd Thompson who is (or was) the Assistant City Manager for Raymore, Missouri. There is no Raymore, Mississippi (contrary to the Mt. Juliet News). Mr. Thompson is still listed as part of the city’s managment team, but the home page carries an announcement of a job search for a new assistant city manager.

Further information as we receive it.

-Publius

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Hiring a new city manager, part 7

  1. Butch Huber

    I went to city hall at 5:30 to attend the city manager workshop. For those that remember, during the last commission meeting it was decided that the workshop would be held in the same room as the commission meetings. I arrived at city hall at 5:36. When I entered the room where the workshop was to be held, I found instead city court being held. (There is more story there, but I will leave it at that for now.)

    I figured the workshop would begin soon, so I stayed in the court session. However, after several minutes I began to wonder if I had missed something. Finally, someone said there was a meeting going on in the board room, however when I got to the board room the door was closed with a sign on it saying “meeting in session”. Not knowing what meeting was taking place behind that closed door I was reluctant to look in. I could hear some discussion going on behind the door, but I felt awkward just standing there trying to determine if the workshop was in progress or not. I stepped away to talk to someone, when I returned moments later I found the door to the boardroom open and all five commissioners sitting around the room. There wasn’t anyone else in the room, which I found to be somewhat disturbing. A scheduled meeting should take place at a scheduled location, and if the location changes, there should be some indication as to where the meeting has moved. I saw nothing to indicate the change in location. Now you might say that I am being a little knit-picky, and perhaps I am, but when you consider how many violations of the TCA that have been occurring lately, everyone should be knit-picky. Five commissioners should never allow themselves to be found together in a meeting with the door closed, even if it is a scheduled meeting.

    I observed the meeting and listened to the dialog. From what I could discern it appears that Randy Robertson is the odds on favorite of the commissioners, I could be wrong, but that is what I walked away thinking.

    The commission has scheduled a special meeting for either 3:00 or 3:30 Friday afternoon. From what I can remember, Randy Robertson is considering a position in Illinois and the commissioners want to ensure they have first shot at Mr. Robertson. You most likely won’t find out about this meeting by looking in the paper because they are calling the meeting with as little lead-time as possible.

    I am concerned for the city. The former city manager filed a memo to file with his deposition in the investigation into the Hatton Wright complaint (you can find his deposition on this site). In that file to memo Rob outlines the events that led to his resignation. If the events he outlined actually took place the city would have to undo his resignation, and their acceptance thereof, and he should be re-instated as city manager. Anyone reading this post should google Tennessee Code Annotated, which will bring up sites that give you access to the TCA (Tennessee Code Annotated). I would copy and paste the information to make things easier for you, but I think it is important for more people to become aware of the TCA. As citizens we should all have a working knowledge of the law. (It appears that certain city officials have never seen the TCA.) Once you have arrived at the TCA you can look at Public Meetings, Minutes of meetings, notice of meetings, remedies, etc. If you explore enough you will discover that when a meeting is held between two or more commissioners that leads to a decision, and that meeting is held without public notice and/or minutes taken, the only remedy is to undo the decision. All things are supposed to be put back to where they were before the meeting took place. As I see it, Rob Shearer is the rightful city manager. I have brought this to the attention of the commission, city attorney, and city manager, yet they ignore me. In my opinion, they are infringing on Rob’s right to the powers of city manager by their neglect of their duties. I believe the commission has an obligation to set things right.

    I would like to see to it that the new city manager is fully aware of the events that led to the resignation of Rob Shearer. I would hate to see the city invest a lot of money putting someone in place only to have to fire him also. The city can’t afford two city managers, and if the city has to re-instate Rob, what will we do with Randy? (I am assuming that they will offer the job to Mr. Robertson. Oh, by the way, the commissioners seem prepared to pay the new city manager more than the salary cap on the city manager’s position.)

    Please write your commissioners (you can find their address by going to cityofmtjuliet.org, then going to city officials, then look under their names.) and ask…no…demand that they set things right in this city. They have a right to fire Rob if that is their will, however, they have no right to violate his contract and extract his resignation under threat and intimidation. Regardless of whether you like Rob or not, you have to have a sense of fair play…don’t you? Consider how you would feel if you were in his shoes? Isn’t it time for the games to end? If you violate the law would the government look the other way?

    The city is in chaos, there appear to be serious violations of the law (If I am right, and I believe I am, serious felonies have been committed by some overly zealous, radical, maniacal, whacked out…I am sorry, I went on a rant..people.) Until we as a society accept our responsibility to bring order to our government (After all, it is still our government.) and hold public officials accountable, we will continue to have problems.

    Butch Huber

  2. Butch Huber

    Just some thoughts about Randy Robertson.
    It sounds to me like Randy Robertson “could” be a great city manager. I am a nine year veteran of the United States Navy, so when I hear of anyone with prior military history I give them the benefit of the doubt up-front. I love our military, I am a true patriot, and I know that the character the military instills in our fighting men and women is sound and good. However, (You probably knew there would be a “however” in here somewhere.) don’t just gush over someone because they were in the military. The United States military is just like any other organization with over 1,000,000 people in it. It has its bright and shiny stars, but it also has its derelicts as well. I have seen some military officers that were literally too dumb to get out of their own way. Randy Robertson seems like he would probably make a good city manager from first blush, but what about all the requirements the city had asserted they are looking for in the “new” city manager? Randy doesn’t seem to qualify. The commission seems to be settling. Could it be that the scheme had a flaw? Could it be that the mayor and those involved in forcing Rob to resign are now wiping egg from their face because they can’t find a qualified candidate to replace him? Where are all the superstar city managers who are ready to bust the door down for a chance to come to Mt. Juliet only to be beaten up by these commissioners?

    But let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and say that he is qualified and he would make a good city manager. The commission (or at least one member of the commission) doesn’t want a “good city manager”…they want a “submissive city manager”. The commissioners don’t seem to get it…they are not in charge of the city; the city manager is in charge of the city. I believe this commission is under the illusion that they have powers they are not entitled to. I have heard so many stories and witnessed so many events that it would be nearly impossible for anyone to convince me that what the commission, and especially the mayor, wants is a strong, take charge type of city manager. I believe what they want is someone who will run the government the way “they tell him/her”. I believe that what is truly desired by the commission is someone who will do their bidding. (Had Rob been weak in the meeting with Pulte homes {again, go to the depositions} the city would have crumbled under the mayor’s influence and issued building permits that were illegal. Had Rob been weak Bobby would have buckled when the mayor called him to try to get him to remove a requirement on her developer/employer.)

    I will tell you a story concerning the first attempt to fire Rob Shearer. After the first commission meeting during which three commissioners sponsored a resolution to fire Rob Shearer, Ray Justice asked to speak to me. He asked to speak to me personally because I was very vocal in the meeting and was demanding that they tell us “why” they wanted to fire Rob. Ray told me after the meeting, “Everybody likes Rob. The real target here is Bobby Franklin. I told Rob if he would just fire Bobby Franklin all of this (meaning the attempt to fire Rob) would go away. Nobody wants to fire Rob. Its like killing a snake. You would like to start at the head, but sometimes you can’t. Sometimes you have to start cutting about halfway up.” Ray was trying to force Rob to fire someone that Ray was having a problem with personally. Rob stood strong and would not do Ray’s bidding.

    Here is something else….
    I am under no illusion, the mayor was angry with Rob because he would not force Hatton Wright to apologize for embarrassing her in front of a developer. Read the depositions in the investigation into the Hatton Wright Complaint and you will be able to see for yourself that the mayor was angry at the city manager. Next thing you know, according to Rob’s memo to file, the mayor is sitting in his office demanding his resignation.

    Ed Haggerty’s main complaint in the first attempt to fire Rob Shearer was that Rob supposedly authorized the reimbursement to Mayor Kevin Mack for a glass of tea Kevin’s wife drank during an interview with a prospective employee of the city. First, let me say that I don’t believe that Rob had anything to do with the reimbursement…as I understand it, a reimbursement under a certain amount (an amount that a glass of tea would certainly be less than) is not approved by the city manager. But let’s not get too wrapped up in that……we are talking about a glass of tea in an interview with a prospective employee…it shouldn’t have been included in the reimbursement…but to fire the city manager over an issue like that???? The other thing Ed was upset over was Kevin Mack’s city cell phone. Evidently the commissioners were not issued a cell phone and Ed must have been jealous. (I believe all the commissioners have a city cell phone now.) Ed was going to fire Rob because Kevin had a cell phone!
    The main issue with that farce was the debacle over the entrance to the doctor’s offices along Mt. Juliet Road (across from the high school). The city had to shell out $120,000 in that situation…perhaps Rob let a few loose ends hang out in that issue…but there is more involved in that whole issue than most people seem to know. The $120,000 that was lost in that situation was unfortunate and should not have happened. However, what was glazed over and never applauded was the fact that Rob had found a way to save the city over $400,000 that same year. In fact, I believe the savings were pointed out in a city manager comments section of one of the proceedings during which the resolution to fire Rob was discussed. So, here is a man who, when you get to the bottom-line, saved the city $280,000 in the same year three commissioners are trying to fire him for a glass of tea and a cell phone, and I am being told they by one of the commissioners sponsoring the resolution to fire him that Rob isn’t even the target! I am being told that Bobby Franklin is the target.

    Why tell you all of this? Do you think this farce will end when we find a new city manager? As long as the commissioners and the mayor believe they should be in charge of the city instead of the city manager, and as long as they have the right to hire and fire the city manager if they are displeased or upset with him/her, the problem will continue. Observe how the commissioners go after one another at the commission table. Sure they have circled the wagons so to speak right now…they have a common enemy…but once they perceive they have gotten out of danger they will go back to wielding their own agenda. If the new city manager is passive he/she will get trampled on by those trying to foist their agenda…like a $20,000,000 community center that only 9% of the citizen’s want…like a shiny new fire truck (I believe we need fire protection)….like sports parks for his kids (I am for sports parks, but only after our city employees are adequately and properly compensated for their efforts and after the main business of government has been met)….etc. If the new city manager is strong he/she will be fired!

    Folks, “we” are going to have to set the city straight. It is our city, it is our responsibility. I was naive enough to believe that when I brought violations of the law to the attention of those sworn to enforce it they would do their jobs. It appears that the only people who are bound by the law are the citizens; It appears that public officials get a pass. We can, and must, do our duties as citizens and oust this administration and put in its place a commission that will stay within the boundaries of their power and authority. Until we have a commission whose only interest is serving the people we will continue to endure this embarrassment. But there is more…you have people who work for you…yes, you are an employer…you are a citizen and everyone who works for government is “your” employee…what kind of employer are you? Are you the kind that will sit back and allow them to be abused and taken advantage of…or are you a kind, just and reasonable employer who actually cares about those who work for you? The employees of Mt. Juliet deserve better. I have personally sat with some of them and heard their concerns. They seemed frightened for their jobs then, and that was before the commission allowed (forced) Rob to go to the gallows. I can only imagine what it is like for them now.

    You and I have duties and responsibilities as citizens. You and I don’t get a pass. We are bound by our citizenship to stand for freedom, justice, and honest government. I am looking for a few good and honest people who have the courage to stand up to this administration and force positive change for this city. I am not running for public office, I don’t want the city manager’s job, I simply care about what is happening in my community. I believe that our children watch us closely, and if we are passive and weak, they will be passive and weak. I believe we need to do our part to leave a society for our children that is in order. We don’t have to have the same political beliefs, however, we do all need to play by the same rules…don’t we?

    If you are interested in standing for change in our city government, or if you get hot under the collar when you see public officials getting away with things that you would go to jail for, feel free to e-mail me at hhuber@comcast.net. Together we can get the job done. Isn’t it time for our community to stop being a political laughing stock of the surrounding cities and counties? Imagine what could be done if we had a commission that would actually work with the county to get things done! Mt. Juliet doesn’t have to be at odds with the county or Lebanon. If other government entities want to continue be hostile toward Mt. Juliet we can begin the process of removing those people once we have cleaned our own house. We can bring about change. We can make this a better place to live, work, shop and play. Let’s look for commissioners who will stay within the boundaries of their jobs and let’s look for a city manager who wants to run our government (I know someone who is available).

    Butch Huber

  3. Butch Huber

    I stand corrected, the issue with the doctor’s office didn’t cost the city 120,000 dollars, apparently the total was closer to 50,000 to 60,000 dollars. Unfortunate that this incident even occurred, but up the total savings Rob brought the city for that year to perhaps $350,000! This is a man in whom the commission lost confidence…I wish someone would save me $350,000!
    I have no evidence that Rob Shearer ever did anything that would rise to the level that would require his dismissal, so there is no other conclusion that I can draw regarding his forced resignation than to believe that it was vicious attack against him and his family by a aggressive, self-serving, dominating, unscrupulous person pursuing her own career and self-interests rather than protecting and serving the public good.

    When is the coronation?

    Butch Huber

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