By Ashley Rader
Elizabethton’s City Council narrowed the field of candidates for city manager to the current interim city manager, a Johnson City development planner, a North Carolina town manager and the senior planner for an East Tennessee City.
Choosing four finalists – Jerome Kitchens, Steven Neilson, Jeffrey Morse and Melissa Peagler – council members tentatively scheduled interview dates.
The city manager’s position opened after Fred Edens retired on Jan. 4. He had been city manager since April 2008.
Kitchens is currently Elizabethton’s interim city manager and is finance director; Neilson has been the development coordinator for Johnson City since 1995; Morse has served as the town manager of Valdese, N.C., since 1980; and Peagler has been the senior planner for the city of Morristown since 2004.
Municipal Technical Advisory Service Adviser Pat Hardy said the city manager search drew 130 resumes, with about half of those received legitimate applicants. Hardy and city Personnel and Risk Management Director Angie Lyons reviewed the applications and narrowed them down to a top five candidates, with a list of three additional good candidates.
He said many of the resumes received were not viable options because it is easier for job searchers to apply for positions than it had been in the past. He said before, job seekers had to type, print, prepare and mail their resumes, which came at a small cost to the applicant. Now, individuals can email their resumes to organizations with available positions.