published Saturday, April 9th, 2011

Gobble, 2 others vie for East Ridge post

by Chris Carroll


Councilmen will interview candidates Monday at 6 p.m. in City Hall. The public is invited.

Hamilton County Jail Chief Tim Gobble is one of three contenders to become East Ridge’s next city manager, records show.

A second candidate, Missouri resident Brian E. Koral, said city officials never notified him that he is among the three finalists.

“This is the first I’ve heard of it,” Koral said Friday. “My wife has just checked the mail, and there’s nothing in the mail. Wow.”

East Ridge Councilmen Jim Bethune, Darwin Branam and Denny Manning last week all said they would prefer to hire a city manager from “within a 100-mile radius.”

“I don’t know them,” Koral said. “So I can’t speak to what their motives may or may not be.”

Reached by phone Friday afternoon, Gobble said he’d like to get back into government, but he wouldn’t discuss specific issues about the city.

“I’m not trying to campaign for the job in the newspaper,” he said. “I’d like to wait until I’m interviewed, when councilmen and citizens can ask me anything.”

Gobble’s other competition is Anne Bridgewater, a Martin, Tenn., resident who served as an administrative assistant, code enforcement officer and stormwater manager in Brownsville, Tenn.

She graduated last May from the University of Tennessee at Martin with a bachelor’s degree in public administration.

“It seems like East Ridge has got some issues where they need a levelheaded person,” she said. “I’m diplomatic, I get along with people and I think I can make it work.”

The council will meet Monday night at City Hall to consider a compensation package for the position, interview the candidates and possibly hire someone.

Gobble and Bridgewater said they would attend the meeting.

William Whitson, the last full-time manager, was paid $112,000 a year with health insurance and vehicle benefits. As jail chief, Gobble makes $66,855 per year.

A former U.S. Secret Service agent, Bradley County sheriff and congressional candidate, Gobble has a bachelor’s degree in public administration and more than three years in municipal government. The degree and experience were East Ridge requirements that eliminated 26 other applicants immediately.

Five earlier candidates were former city managers, some with graduate degrees in public administration, law and finance.

Interim City Manager Eddie Phillips said he “was trying to follow the letter of the City Charter” when he eliminated the 26 candidates.

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