By Ashley Rader
For interim city manager and finance director Jerome Kitchens, applying for the Elizabethton city manager position was the next step in his career in local government.
Kitchens was one of two candidates for the role of Elizabethton city manager interviewed by City Council members Friday. Two additional candidates will be interviewed on Thursday, March 21.
Kitchens said he had an interest in city management when he was studying political science at East Tennessee State University in the 1970s. He said the field was a newer area of study and he did not pursue it.
He said his entrance into local government happened after the budget director for the county schools left that position. He was working as special populations coordinator and applied for the job and was hired. He has since served as the deputy director and director of finance for Carter County before being hired at the city.
“It is progression for me,” Kitchens said. “This is more or less an evolution of what I have done. It is more experience, more responsibilities and it is just the next step. This is where I want to live so it would be nice to have the job I want where I want to live.”
Kitchens felt his knowledge of the city and of local government would benefit him if he were selected as city manager. He said the biggest constraint facing him if selected would be the limited resources and the needs facing the city.
“There are things that we may want or need to do but we might not always have the money or the equipment to do those things,” he said.