By Heather Mullinix
A motion to approve salary and benefits package and put Jeffrey Skidmore to work as the new Crossville city manager was met with silence Tuesday. Instead, the Crossville City Council voted to rescind its offer of employment.
Skidmore, who was in attendance at the regular meeting of the council, took the podium during the public comments portion of the meeting and said, “To say I’m in a state of shock would be a bit of an understatement at this point, but I just wanted to come before you for the record and say that I am still interested in the position.”
The council is scheduled to meet today at 1 p.m. to discuss the future of its search for a new city manager. Skidmore said he would attend the meeting and was open to negotiations regarding compensation. In the mean time, he said he hoped to contact each council member individually to discuss their concerns.
“I’m not sure what changed between the July 25 meeting, for that matter, what changed between last Tuesday and tonight,” Skidmore said. “I’d like to know, at some point, what changed.”
Mayor J.H. Graham III moved to hire Skidmore, effective Wednesday, with a salary of $95,000 and a five-percent increase after six months. Also included was a car allowance of $600 per month so Skidmore could use his own vehicle on the job, and standard mileage rates for any required out-of-county travel. Standard health insurance, retirement, accumulation of sick and vacation leave for full time employees was also included, with approval for a previously scheduled vacation in October, paid with vacation time to accumulate the following months.
There was no second to Graham’s motion and it died for lack of support.
Graham asked for other suggestions or motions regarding salary and benefits for Skidmore.
Councilman Pete Souza suggested the council take no action and reconvene at a work session at a later date to discuss further.
“Right now, if I was a betting man, everybody is displeased with the proposal and some people have second thoughts about the appointment,” Souza said. “We all should be on board on this 100 percent. We’re going into something that we’re going to issue this man special trust and confidence.”
Graham asked why the council needed to wait for a work session.
“The floor is open,” he said.
Councilman Danny Wyatt then moved to rescind the council’s action of July 25 to offer Skidmore the position.
Skidmore had received votes from Souza, Wyatt and Graham at that meeting.
Wyatt’s motion was supported by Souza. It passed with Councilman George Marlow and Councilman Jesse Kerley joining Wyatt and Souza in voting in favor. Graham voted no.
Skidmore was one of six candidates interviewed for the position and was a finalist in the previous city manager search. He previously worked as assistant city manager and chief operating officer for Weston, FL, a town of 65,000 people.
Skidmore said he was willing to negotiate with the council on salary requirements, the bonus and other benefits. At the work session Aug. 6, it was noted former city manager Bruce Wyatt had accepted a salary of $85,000 per year when he started in the position. Prior to that, city managers received starting salaries of $95,000 or more, with one receiving $105,000.