Gobble Is No Show For East Ridge Meeting; Deal For His Departure Worked Out; Gets 7 Months Severance

Thursday, February 7, 2013
Tim Gobble, left, and Marc  Gravitt
Tim Gobble, left, and Marc Gravitt

Tim Gobble was a no show at the East Ridge City Council agenda meeting on Thursday night, and it was announced later before an overflow crowd that he had resigned.

The City Council voted 3-2 to accept a deal offered by Mr. Gobble that gives him seven months of severance pay (about $67,000). He also receives 100 of 200 hours of accrued leave. The city will defend him in a case in which he was sued along with the city. It was agreed that each side would not sue the other.

Voting in favor of the settlement were Vice Mayor Jim Bethune and council members Denny Manning and Marc Gravitt.

Opposed were Mayor Brent Lambert and Councilman Larry Sewell.

A workshop will be held Monday at 6 p.m. on choosing his successor.

Councilman Denny Manning had asked to put an item on the agenda about the Gobble contract.

Eddie Phillips, who has been called on several times to serve as interim city manager, was seated in the city manager's spot. He is the city public safety director - over the fire and police. He told the audience, "This is my sixth time to serve as interim city manager. City Hall is going to continue to stay open and we will continue to provide excellent services to our citizens."

Mr. Gobble was formerly the Bradley County sheriff.

He had been embroiled in several controversies during his East Ridge term, including over the hiring of a 19-year-old church friend to a $35,000-per-year post, and his use of the city's Facebook page.

The new council majority in mid-December had fired City Attorney John Anderson in a 3-2 vote.

Vice Mayor Bethune said he would not approve any contracts in the future for city officials that include severance pay. 

Mr. Gobble was hired in April 2011 with a unanimous vote.

The Cleveland, Tn., resident was paid $116,800 - about $4,000 more than his precedessor, William Whitson, who also had a short tenure.

Dick Cook, who headed up a charter study commission in 2008, said the requirements for city manager possibly should have not been made quite so stringent, including the necessity of a bachelor's degree in public administration.

Mr. Phillips said a number of potential candidates in the past had a master's in public administration, but not a bachelor's.

Mr. Cook said he felt the city would do better to try to find someone from home rather than continuing to bring in "mercenaries."  He said that was his conclusion after "two recent failures." He said he at first had high hopes for Mr. Gobble.

He said he felt there could be many good candidates from East Ridge and they would "know the people and know the problems. They would have the city's best interest at heart."

Frances Pope raised the issue of an alleged tape recorded by Mr. Gobble of a city council member threatening his job. She made an open records request for the tape, but came up empty.

She said Councilman Larry Sewell told her he had listened to the tape. Councilman Sewell denied saying that and said he had been advised there was such a tape but he had not heard it.

Vice Mayor Bethune said he asked Mr. Gobble about such a tape and he told him "there was no such tape."

City Attorney Hal North said if there had been such a tape he would have recommended that it be turned over under the citizen request. He said Mr. Gobble maintained it was his personal property and refused to do so. "I couldn't force him to," attorney North said.

The attorney said, "I felt if it was brought out it would have cleared the air and resolved a lot of problems."  

It is the sixth time for Eddie Phillips to temporarily run East Ridge city government
It is the sixth time for Eddie Phillips to temporarily run East Ridge city government

Woman In Critical Condition After Being Shot In The Face Near O'Rear Street Identified As Entwadina Phillips, 20

A woman who is in critical condition after she was shot while driving in Chattanooga on Saturday night has been identified as 20-year-old Entwadina Phillips . Just after  9 p.m. , the Chattanooga Police Department responded to reports of a person shot. Once on the scene, police located a female victim near the 2500 block of O'Rear Street suffering from a life-threatening ... (click for more)

Minor Flooding Expected On South Chickamauga Creek

The National Weather Service has issued a flood warning for South Chickamauga Creek from late Wednesday until Thursday afternoon. At 2:15 p.m. Tuesday, the state was 12.2 feet and rising. Flood stage is 18 feet. It is expected to rise above flood stage by early Thursday morning and fall below shortly aftern. At 18 feet, water begins to cross Mack Smith Road. Flooding begins ... (click for more)

City Council, Please Reconsider On The 7-Story Apartment Variance

I would like to thank the Regional Planning Commission and the Regional Planning Agency   for denying the recent application for a variance from the current zoning requirements in place for the 1200 block of Cowart Street. The developers want to build a 7-story parking deck with 141 efficiency and one-bedroom apartments wrapped around three sides in an area with a 48' height ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: My Garden In December

As the fallen leaves confirm today is the first of December, my monthly walk in life’s garden is more foggy than fun. In much-older times, good children would get a piece of candy on Christmas Day while bad ones would receive a lump of coal. So here are some things that deserve a helping of both: A PIECE OF CANDY to the amazingly few who can spy a nest of mistletoe high in area ... (click for more)

No 1 Connecticut Overwhelms Lady Mocs, 79-31

At least 6,104 basketball enthusiasts got to see what the best women’s college basketball team in the country looks like Monday night at McKenzie Arena. The three-time defending national champion Connecticut Huskies won for the fourth time this season and 41 st game in a row with an impressive 79-31 victory over the Chattanooga Lady Mocs before the seventh-largest crowd in ... (click for more)

Mocs Fall 64-54 At ULM

The Chattanooga Mocs (5-2) five-game-in-10-day road show ended Monday night with a 64-54 loss at ULM (3-2). The squad shot a season-low 35.3 percent (18-51) in the loss. "I felt like we had good shots, especially in the first half,” coach Matt McCall said. “We were getting down the lane and guys were just flat out missing layups. Everyone for the most part was getting in the ... (click for more)