Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

September 16, 2013

Council approves manager contract, gives first assignment

By Jim Young
Chronicle correspondent

CROSSVILLE — Incoming City Manager David Rutherford has attended several meetings since he was appointed and during the September's regular meeting the council approved a written agreement with him for the position and assigned him his first project once he officially starts on Monday.

While the council had previously agreed to terms with Rutherford, a licensed attorney, Rutherford felt a written agreement should be put in place to spell out the terms including the six-month severance plan he would receive if fired without cause. City attorney Ken Chadwell told the council Rutherford had recommended the use of an MTAS (Municipal Technical Advisory Service) form and after some negotiating, a final agreement was reached and was ready for action by the council.

Councilman Danny Wyatt moved to approve a $2000 payment for moving expenses. That motion passed unanimously. Also unanimous was the approval of the employment agreement with Rutherford who will be starting officially on Monday, Sept. 16.

In addition to his regular responsibilities, the council agreed to assign Rutherford the task of studying the costs and expenses of the city's contract with Veolia Water to manage the waste-water treatment plant and collection system. The agenda item was raised by Councilman Jesse Kerley, who pointed out that the city's contract with Veolia expires in October of 2014 and Kerley felt the information was needed for the city to plan for a decision to rebid the contract or take back over the operation of the plant itself.

Kerley said, “I want to make sure were getting the best deal for the utility customers.” He added that the manager might call in help from the Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS) to assist with the study of expenses and costs at other cities around the state.

Councilman Pete Souza said he had spoken with Clark Annis, Veolia's local manager, about being competitive and Souza said Annis was upfront, too. Souza agreed that an evaluation well in advance was appropriate, and he added, “This is not to say the service was unsatisfactory or overpriced, but we owe it to the taxpayers to do a competitive look and comprehensive study.”

The council approved the third and final reading of the annexation of 5.43 acres on Dayton Spur Road, adding it to the city limits of Crossville. A public hearing on the annexation was help before the council's regular meeting but no comments were made during the hearing.

The council deferred action on a resolution authorizing a loan not to exceed $4 million to fund part of the downtown improvement project. The council was not ready to act on the matter and immediate action was not required. Councilman Danny Wyatt said he'd like to see how the bids come in before they take more action on the matter.

Also deferred was an agenda item requested by Souza concerning business conducted by members of city council. This has been a concern of Souza, especially with the hiring of a new city manager, but he said he understands the charter committee has addressed the issue in the proposed charter changes they are working on.

The city of Crossville continues their string of awards for the operation of the waste-water treatment plant. The city received both the operations excellence and the beneficial reuse of biosolids award from the Kentucky-Tennessee Water Environment Association. The city has received both these awards previously and Veolia's Clark Annis recognized his staff for their work at the council meeting.