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Board creates Olson position

Farragut’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved a temporary amendment to the Farragut Municipal Code to create former Town administrator Dan Olson’s new temporary job, budget and finance director.

The amendment also modifies the Town ad-ministrator’s job de-scription, removing the clause about budget preparation, which will automatically be rescinded Aug. 16, coinsiding with Olson’s last day as a Town employee.

“The town of Farragut would be far better served if we severed our relationship with Mr. Olson, paid him a severance … I don’t agree this is the smart thing to do,” Alderman Tom Rosseel said.

He added, if the Board decided to keep Olson he should report to the Town administrator to avoid too many people each managing only a little apiece.

Rosseel read a letter from Town Recorder Allison Myers, expressing her confusion about who staff should report to for different issues.

“Anything [but having Olson report to the Town administrator] is just going to be a problem with micro-management and misunderstandings,” Rosseel said.

“This is probably one of the worst ways we could handle this,” he added.

Town attorney Tom Hale said Olson has prepared the budget for the past 13 years and always has reported to the Board.

“It’s unclear to me why it’s a bad approach to continue to do that for this six-month period,” Hale said, adding it would be more complicated to change the process for such a short time.

“This ordinance is consistent with the agreement the Board passed at its last meeting, which was the result of approximately three months of negotiations,” Mayor Eddy Ford said of Olson’s decision to resign, and his long list of benefits.

In six months, the Town will “get beyond this situation … I cannot fathom that this won’t work just fine if everyone wants it to work,” Hale said.

“We’ve got to be practical about this … it’s a very short-term situation,” he added.

The new job descriptions passed 4-1, with only Rosseel dissenting.

The Board also gave the personnel committee and Janet Curry, human resources manager, direction on how to pursue recruitment for a new Town administrator.

Interim Town administrator Gary Palmer presented the Board with four common options for recruiting: hiring an executive recruitment firm, pursuing Municipal Technical Advisory Service assistance, recruiting through the personnel committee or recruiting in-house.

Myers said anything not done in-house would “take the politics out” of the decision.

Vice Mayor J. Michael Haynes made it clear he would like to see a “quality, nationwide search” for a new Town administrator, and Alderman Dot LaMarche said the town could save money if the search was done through MTAS, which provides its services gratis.

Curry said headhunters encourage people to view ads through phone calls and their extensive contacts.

The Internet allows any ads to be viewed worldwide, “but to get the best candidate, those headhunters know who’s looking,” Curry said.

“I don’t have the experience in this … I’m not prepared to decide who should head this recruitment,” Alderman John Williams said.

He asked that the personnel committee, Curry and Palmer meet to discuss the best way for the Town to proceed and report back to the Board at its next meeting.

Also on the next meeting’s agenda will be a modified and expanded Town Administrator job description, written by Curry with input from the personnel committee, Board and Town staff.


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