Alderman, citizens grapple over city administrator position

Posted at 5:27 PM, May 28, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-29 02:11:04-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — In a slim vote, city leaders in Hendersonville voted 7 to 6 in favor of creating a new city administrator position in 2020.

The position would take over daily operations of the city. Those responsibilities are currently held by Mayor Jamie Clary, but would, instead, be handled by a hired professional.

"This started in the previous administration and it's something that a city of our size clearly needs," said Alderman Andy Bolt.

Bolt says the city's growth proves the need for more organization in management. He said he hopes the position would be similar to Franklin's city administrator.

"We're going to have to be very careful about our future growth of the city," said Bolt.

Hendersonville has seen its share of controversy during city meetings. Several city alderman brought forth the idea while relations between city leaders became strained.

"There's just a lot of angst between the board, much of the board and Mayor Clary," said Bolt. "It takes the politics out of every single decision that has to be made and every piece of information that comes out. It would be really to feel the information that we're getting is really objective."

The city administrator would make suggestions to the board and mayor. For example, the position could make recommendations about infrastructure, but hold no political power.

"The people voted for the mayor and it appears that the board, city council, has some sort of problem with the mayor and they want to take all of the mayor's duties," said Ottis Jones, a Hendersonville resident, who opposes the idea of the new position.

"The mayor has no responsibilities left, except the very few and not the duties to allow the mayor to implement the vision of the city," he said.

The vote happened at about 12:30a.m. Wednesday. The measure passed with an amendment that the position not be budgeted for until July 1, 2020.