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Texan offered city manager position

By DAWN HANKINS - dhankins@t-g.com
Posted 12/10/20

Shelbyville City Council voted Tuesday night, during a special called business meeting, to offer the position of City Manager to applicant Joshua W. Ray, who has served since 2017 as Lago Vista, Texas city manager and previously served 7 years as City of Aztec, N.M. manager...

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Texan offered city manager position


Shelbyville City Council voted Tuesday night, during a special called business meeting, to offer the position of City Manager to applicant Joshua W. Ray, who has served since 2017 as Lago Vista, Texas city manager and previously served 7 years as City of Aztec, N.M. manager.

The City of Shelbyville’s lead office, which currently supervises all departments, such as public works and parks and recreation, was vacated in October, when former manager Shanna Boyette moved across the street to Bedford County Government human resources. City of Shelbyville Purchasing Agent Lorie Saddler has served as interim, but said this fall she would like to return to her regular office.

Assisting the City the last several months with its job search is Municipal Technical Advisory Services (MTAS), which is currently facilitating financial agreements with Ray. Council decided earlier this fall the annual salary range for the new hire would be between $95,000 and $145,000.

Shelbyville City Council meets in regular business session 6 p.m., Thursday at Shelbyville Recreation Center. One business item included on the agenda is consideration of a motion to approve the new City manager’s employment terms.

Qualifications for the lead City position includes a bachelor’s degree in public administration from an accredited college or university, business administration or field closely related to municipal management and a minimum of 8 years progressively increasing city management experience or any combination of education and municipal experience that demonstrates efficiency in managing a complex municipal corporation. Shelbyville residency is also a requirement for the position, which means if Ray accepts the City’s terms, he will be relocating here.

According to City officials, there was one applicant from Shelbyville out of the total 32 applications received by the October deadline. However, that local applicant did not make the top 10 cut, as recommended by MTAS.

A special called meeting was held Oct. 27 and Council, after having received and reviewed all resumes, agreed with MTAS’s top 10 selections.

After discussion, five candidates were then selected for first round interviews, which were held by Zoom conference Nov. 10 and 12. During this interview process, Council scored candidates based on their responses to a series of questions.

At the conclusion of the final interview on Nov. 12, Council discussed the scores and then Council member Ricky Overcast made a motion to bring in just the top three scoring candidates, which in addition to Ray, were Pamela Caskie of Sevierville and John Coffey of Melbourne, Fla. In-person interviews were set for the three for Nov. 30, Dec. 7 and finally, Tuesday, Dec. 8.

Prospective Shelbyville City Manager Ray said in his submitted resume that his objective is: “To provide effective and efficient management and progressive leadership to local government and to change the culture of trust in government through sound management practices.”

He also mentioned that he holds a master’s of public affairs degree from Western Carolina University, where he graduated at the top of his class in 2003, with a 4.0 GPA. As well, he has a bachelor of arts degree from the University of North Carolina.

Currently in Lago Vista, he manages the day-to-day activities, including 14 department heads, 105 full-time employees, 25-35 seasonal and part-time employees and manages a $38 million annual budget and $74 million worth of capital projects. He included on his resume that he’s served as president of the local Lions Club and as a youth basketball director.

Ray has also been the manager of the City of Aztec, N.M. and Whiteville, N.C., according to his resume. He’s also served as a management consultant, where he conducted employee evaluations.

**Other candidates

Pamela Caskie

Caskie is a resident of Sevierville, where she owns her own consulting business. She also served in the past as a city executive for municipalities in Pennsylvania and Vermont.

Caskie’s resume states, “In a tourism dominant economy of over 15 million visitors a year, I developed economic analytics using Big Data concepts to accurately reflect the economic activity in the city and county.”

The only female candidate making it into the top 10, her resume states that she has a master’s in public administration, 20 plus years experience as a municipal manager and 15 years in “focused, successful economic development.” She worked from 1983 to 1987 as a management system consultant with MTAS-Knoxville.

John Coffey

Final round applicant John Coffey brought to the Council table his resume, which highlights his 25 plus years experience in government work. He stated his expertise includes such areas as communications, capital project management and human resources.

He also shared with the City of Shelbyville that his accomplishments include increased operational efficiency and effectiveness by shifting organization’s culture from “not my job” mentality to a “collaborative team work” approach, embracing at the same time proactive shared responsibilities and empowerment of mid-level supervisors while strengthening intergovernmental relations.

Coffey has a master’s of public administration, has served as a local governance advisor to Iraq and a budget/management analyst with the Office of Management and Budget in the City of College Station, Texas.

A resident of West Melbourne, Fla., Coffey is currently community manager of Barefoot Bay Recreation District, an unincorporated community governed by an elected board of trustees, which provides a wide-range of recreational opportunities, including an 18-hold golf course and beach access.

**New faces

When Shelbyville City Council meets in regular business session 6 p.m. Thursday at Shelbyville Recreation Center, a recognition is planned for outgoing Ward 5 Council member, Jean Pruitt; she was first elected to Council in 1997, taking only one term off since that time.

Judge Wyatt Burk will administer the oath of office for those Council members elected to their respective ward seats in November, which includes incumbent Henry Feldhaus (Ward 1 representative), Gary Haile (new Ward 3 representative) and Stephanie Isaacs (new Ward 5 representative.)