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

Thursday, February 07, 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

Robber Hits Collegedale Credit Union

A robber struck at the Collegedale Credit Union on University Drive on Thursday afternoon. Police said a man entered the credit union about 2:30 p.m. He handed over a note that demanded money. The man said he had a gun, but did not display one. He left on foot with an undisclosed amount of cash. The robber was described as a white male around 5'11". (click for more)

Fort Oglethorpe Arrest Report For July 25-31

Here is the Fort Oglethorpe arrest report for July 25-31: John Alan Suggs, 35, of 222 South Center Street, Rossville was arrested July 29 on charges of giving false name and false information to police and theft by shoplifting. Jennifer Lynn Joy, 37, 429 Guyler Street, Ringgold was arrested July 28 on a charge of theft by taking. Ronald Jason Hendricks, 36, of 1313 ... (click for more)

Curtis Adams: Beck, Mackey Should Be Considered For County Commission Leadership

Just think about this;  a person highly qualified applying for a job.  As he is just about finished filling out his papers for his interview, he sees at the bottom there is a place for him to check Democrat or Republican.  He would think, “if I mark the wrong one I may not get the job.” Being a real leader requires honesty, integrity, and, most importantly, fairness. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Orchids And Onions

With record low temperatures being recorded around the South, I didn’t know what I’d find in my garden on the first day of August but – sure enough -- there is a profusion of orchids and onions. The start of college football will be later this month and, with the chilly mornings, fall practice is a far cry from what it will be when the sweltering heat comes back next week. Here’s ... (click for more)

Jones, Vols Meet The Press A Day Before Fall Football Begins

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- What did  Butch Jones  have to say about Tennessee’s 2014 football team on the eve of the Vols' first practice? Find out in this transcript of Thursday’s press conference:  HEAD COACH BUTCH JONES (Opening Statement) "It's great to see everyone, and I hope everyone had a great summer. We will hold an open practice on Saturday ... (click for more)

Jane Webb Is A Fun-Loving Runner At Heart

Jane Webb isn’t one of those people who started running when she was a kid, but she loves the benefits since she restarted her running career about four years ago. She’s all about being active and doing things that are good for you,   but long-distance running never really captured her attention and she’s found that she can receive the same payoff by covering ... (click for more)