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FBMA approves Town Admin assistant

The Farragut Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved the hiring of an assistant town administrator during its regular Thursday meeting, March 9, with four affirmative votes and one abstaining.

Alderman Thomas Rosseel abstained from the vote to hire Gary Palmer, 35, of Michigan, because of what he deemed was confusing language by Vice Mayor Mike Haynes.

Rosseel told the board during the Oct. 13, 2005, meeting, when the position of assistant town administrator was discussed, a motion made by Haynes referred to the assistant town administrator position as an “exempt” position.

Rosseel, after the meeting, said the personnel policy of the town basically has two designations. One is exempt service, which refers to a position that is hired and terminated at the pleasure of the FBMA. The other designation is an exempt salary position, which refers to a position that has an immediate supervisor and that supervisor decides whether to promote or terminate.

Rosseel said he believed the word “exempt” in Haynes’ motion referred to the exempt salary position, making the assistant town administrator subject to Farragut Town Administrator Dan Olson.

“I’m sorry you didn’t understand what you were voting on,” Haynes told Rosseel.

As it stands now, Rosseel said Palmer would be hired and terminated at the pleasure of the FBMA.

After the meeting Haynes said he didn’t know whether it was unusual for a town to have both a town administrator and assistant town administrator that answered to the FBMA.

“I have no idea,” he said. “I’m concerned with what we do in Farragut. I believe from a policy standpoint someone such as, in this case an associate town administrator who is also a person by the job description who steps in if the town administrator is incapacitated or unable to fulfill that role, I think that they should be responsive to the board. We’re the ones elected by the public and charged with seeing that the town is run properly.”

Haynes said while there are some philosophical differences in opinion, he said the board is unanimously in support of this position as being necessary for the town and in support of Palmer in this position.

Palmer, an Ohio native currently serves as director of the community development department in Garden City, Mich. He has held that position since 2001.

“I am looking forward to coming to Farragut and working with the community,” he said.

Palmer said he had visited this area in the past when he served in the United States Marine Corps and applied for the position when it became available.

Palmer earned his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Toledo in 1996 and earned his Master of Public Administration degree in 2005.

In other business, the Board:

• Approved the right-of-way signs for the 2006 Dogwood Festival.

• Approved a special events permit for the Festival on the Green and presented event chairman Marianne Morse with a check for $10,000.

• Approved a cost-sharing request for the Kroger redevelopment project, including a right-in only access point on the western end of the Kingston Pike frontage access.

• Heard a second reading of text amendments to the Farragut Municipal Code regarding sign ordinances.


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