published Saturday, October 5th, 2013

East Ridge lands new city manager

After an eight-month vacancy, someone has finally agreed to become city manager in East Ridge.

Vice Mayor Jim Bethune said Andrew Hyatt called to accept the job Wednesday morning, less than a day after the council voted to offer it to him. Hyatt will make $90,000 a year and the city will give him $4,000 to move to town from Fairview, Tenn.

Bethune said Hyatt will start Oct. 21.

"I'm tickled to death that we got a city manager," Bethune said. "We've got a man that will come in and hit the ground running."

Hyatt had been the city manager in Fairview since January 2010. Before that, he was a city manager in Etowah, Tenn.; a community development manager in Deerfield Beach, Fla.; and a senior administrative assistant in Jacksonville, Fla.

East Ridge officials have struggled in the last eight months to find a permanent replacement for Tim Gobble, who resigned Feb. 7. Some council members blame the city charter, which stipulates that the manager must hold a bachelor's degree in public administration.

Since Gobble's resignation, Eddie Phillips and Frieda Wheeler have served as the interim city managers. Phillips retired in August, and for the last two months Wheeler has split her duties between city manager and city services director.

Contact staff writer Tyler Jett at 423-757-6476 or tjett@timesfreepress.com.

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