Ramsey to manage utilities in Rockwood

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By Cindy Simpson

It didn’t take Kimberly Ramsey long to consider Rockwood’s offer to head up three of its city-operated utilities.

Ramsey, a former Farragut town engineer and interim town administrator, accepted the Rockwood Water, Sewer and Natural Gas general manager’s job the day after her second interview last week.

“There is no doubt in my mind she’ll do a great job,” said Rockwood Mayor James Watts. “She’s one of the most qualified individuals that I thought we could find.

“I have no qualms at all in my feeling she’ll do an outstanding job for the city of Rockwood.”

Ramsey is a civil engineer, and her credentials and the possible savings they could bring the city and utilities were perks that helped seal the deal.

Watts said city leaders were to meet with Ramsey late last week to fine-tune the employment agreement, including negotiation of a contract hiring her at $75,000 for a one-year probationary period.

The mayor said he is unsure when she’ll start work.

“That is kind of contingent on what the council decides,” Watts said.

Rockwood City Council will meet in a special-called session today, April 18, to consider appointing a new board to govern the three utilities.

The meeting in Rockwood City Hall will start at 7 p.m.

The council disbanded the former board in October after it was learned the water and sewer operations had been illegally borrowing from the more profitable gas department.

The council has acted as the board since that time. Rod King, who was manager of the three utilities, resigned a short time afterward.

Watts said his intent to sit a new board as soon as possible is to allow them to begin learning about the issues and get to know the new manager.

He wants interim manager Ron Berry to show  them the ropes, including preparing the next budget and discussing improvements needed under the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation director’s order for various violations.

“I will encourage the board to start meeting with Ron and gettimg some of his expertise in the field of gas, water and sewer,” Watts added.

Watts said he expects Ramsey and the new board members to be at today’s meeting.

“I’ve already started calling and asking them to be there,” he said.