East Ridge Adjusts Its Budget To Pay New City Manager; Andrew Hyatt Starts Oct. 21

Thursday, October 10, 2013

East Ridge City Council members on Thursday night approved a $30,000 budget amendment that will allow payment of new city manager Andrew Hyatt through the end of the year. Mr. Hyatt starts Oct. 21.

He has been the city manager for the much-smaller city of Fairview, Tn., since 2010. He was a finalist for Red Bank city manager last year and was in the hunt for posts at Kingston and Signal Mountain this year before landing the East Ridge job.

Freida Wheeler received thanks for stepping in as interim city manager after Eddie Phillips retired.

John McNeel told council members he plans to sue the city after being struck in his wheelchair on McBrien Road on Oct. 1 by a woman who picked up her fourth DUI. Mr. McNeel, a Vietnam veteran, said he has been trying to get the city to make repairs and put in safety features on McBrien Road for years.

Darrel Sivley told the council that a sewer line coming from a house at 4910 McBrien Road is for some reason connected to the line at his daughter's house nearby. He said it should have been run out to McBrien Road like others on the street.

He said the line recently ruptured in two places, sending sewage onto his daughter's yard. Mr. Sivley said WWTA was called and Keef Plumbing made the repairs, but he had to pay the $685 bill.

The daughter said she had trouble flushing the toilets in her house due to the extra effluent from the other house.

East Ridge officials said they will look into the situation.

Butch Bryson once again came before the council asking why it will not take off the table a new wrecker ordinance. He said he will open a wrecker service in his hometown if he can get on the police rotation list. There are currently only three on the list and two are owned by the same man.

Council members Jim Bethune and Marc Gravitt spoke in favor of adding him to the list. Vice Mayor Bethune said, "It's a matter of fair trade. I think it should be open to anyone."

Council member Gravitt said, "The Epicurean has been operating in East Ridge for 50 years. It would be like them coming in saying there can't be any new restaurants."

He added, "When I came on the council I was told to stay away from women, wine and wreckers."

Mayor Brent Lambert said that despite the council's inaction that Mr. Bryson was not precluded from opening a wrecker service in East Ridge.

Ms. Wheeler said she and her staff are still researching some old minutes related to the issue.

Jackie Cagle asked about the situation with the city and the WWTA over cuts in the roads made during sewer line repairs.

City Attorney Hal North said there was a recent mediation that did not yield a solution. He said it is set to go before a judge on Dec. 12. He said it is expected there will be between 1,000 to 5,000 road cuts in connection with the upcoming work.

Mimi Lowrey questioned if animal shelter supervisor Jonathan Cooper is going to continue to be paid while off work while the city investigates any policy violations in connection with his arrest along with his wife's for public intoxication and disorderly conduct. Ms. Wheeler said a decision should be reached in about a week and a half, and it would not await a decision in court. The case does not come to court until Dec. 12. 

The council approved buying a 2007 Toyota Tundra that was seized after a drunk driving and driving on a revoked license stop. It is being bought from BB&T Bank for the amount of the lien - $6,344.64. The truck has less than 40,000 miles on it and is said to be worth $15,000.

The city will only be able to keep the vehicle for five years.

The next council meeting will be Nov. 14.


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