The Mt. Juliet Board of Commissioners passed the yearly budget Monday, and took the next step in hiring a City Manager.
Only four new amendments were added to the budget, two of which added back positions that were originally eliminated. At the first hearing of the budget, Mayor Ed Hagerty asked that five positions be removed from the budget due to the scandal which saw four employees resign and one terminated. One was from the Police Department, two from Finance and two from Public Works. The Police Department position was immediately put back in, but the other four have been held out through the discussions. Monday, Commissioner Jim Bradshaw requested that the Assistant Public Works Director position and one of the finance positions be added back to the budget. They were approved.
Almost $45,000 was added to the budget to pay for putting back up the retail signs on N. Mt. Juliet Road. They were taken down to widen the road. Also, $13,342 was added to the Parks Department for equipment that was damaged recently.
The commissioners approved the budget, 4-1, with only Commissioner Art Giles voting against it.
The commissioners also discussed the next step in the hiring of a City Manager. The commissioners had narrowed the candidates to four, and listened to pre-taped interviews done by MTAS. One of the candidates, Tony Massey, had removed himself from consideration for the position. Bradshaw asked that he get to interview two candidates one-on-one – Kenny Martin and John McCue.
“I feel pretty confident in Kenny,” said Commissioner Ted Floyd. “I personally don’t have any desire to interview the other two.”
Commissioner Art Giles agreed with Floyd, and said he would vote to hire Martin.
One snag that is holding Martin back is that he does not live inside the city limits. The City of Mt. Juliet has an ordinance that says that the City Manager must live in the city limits. Martin lives a few houses outside the limits, and can actually see the city limits from his front yard.
“I will not vote to change that to accommodate,” said Commissioner James Maness of the rule. Bradshaw also agreed that he would not vote to change it, but the other two commissioners and Hagerty indicated they would.
“I don’t know any family more associated with Mt. Juliet than the Martin family,” said Mayor Hagerty. Hagerty said that rule was put in several years ago because they would be hiring someone from out of state, and they wanted them to move inside the city limits.
The commissioners agreed to all interview Martin one-on-one in the next 30 days. No other candidates would be interviewed. At the second meeting of July, they would decide what the next step would be.
The commissioners also decided what the next step was in building the fire station in the Providence area. The architectural firm of Lyman, Davidson, Dooley, Inc. had a design that some commissioners were concerned about the price. The firm had quoted the possible price as $1.4 million. Martin had got some sample bids that came in at or just over a million. Instead of voting on the agreement with Lyman, Davidson, Dooley, Inc., Hagerty suggested that the City Manager get a few bids from a firm that would design and build the station, instead of one that would just design like Lyman, Davidson, Dooley, Inc. Bradshaw objected, saying that it would push the process back, but Hagerty thought it would be quicker since the firm would be able to do both. The commissioners voted to receive bids from a design-build firm, 4-1, with Bradshaw voting against it.