Rockwood may change rules for administrator

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By Cindy Simpson

The minimum qualifications for a city administrator in Rockwood includes a college degree and training in municipal management, public administration, business administration, planning or comparable experience.

A candidate is also required to move to the city within 90 days.

Mayor James Watts is proposing changes to both those categories. Rockwood Finance Committee put off the ordinance until next month.

Watts said he would like to amend the ordinance language to say the administrator “would either have to have a college degree or comparable experience to become city administrator.”

He’d also like to amend the residential requirement mandating a candidate “live within a reasonable proximity of Roane County or the city of Rockwood.”

Under the code of ordinances, the administrator reports to the mayor and city council.

No mayor would be eligible for the office for up to a year from the expiration of his term.

Duties range from making recommendations regarding improving services and consulting with the finance
officer and mayor in preparation of departmental and municipal budgets.

The administrator also acts as grant administrator.

Council member Bill Thompson, however, wants to keep things status quo.

“I think everything is going good right now,” he said. “When it is going good I say leave it alone. I’d like it to stay like it is for the time being.”

“I still think we need to change the ordinance,” Watts said.

“I don’t have a problem with the ordinance, I just want the people to stay where they are,” Thompson said. “If it is running, don’t tinker with it.”

The proposed changes would make city recorder Becky Ruppe eligible if the city were to hire an administrator. Ruppe is a former Morgan County executive.

She asked if the changes would allow a city recorder to fill both positions. Watts said it would.

The city has been sans an administrator since Jack Miller left amidst heated adversity between council members and the mayor over the budget process.

Miller was adamant drastic changes in financing had to happen for the city to be solvent.

Before Miller was in office Jim Hines acted as both recorder and city administrator.

While Hines oversaw operations, several late payments of payroll taxes to the IRS occurred, resulting in the eventual termination of finance officer Joby Winter.