Hartman named interim city manager by Council

Published 8:40 pm Thursday, March 8, 2018

(Editor’s Note: Due to deadline constraints, further updates from Thursday’s meeting will appear in the weekend edition of the Elizabethton Star.)

A new era of leadership is underway in Elizabethton.

In the wake of City Manager Jerome Kitchens’ retirement in April, City Council voted Thursday evening by a 5-2 margin to appoint Planning Director Jon Hartman as interim city manager until a final decision can be made at a later date.

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Councilman Richard Tester made the motion of Hartman to be nominated for the position. Two other nominations that came from Council included former City Manager Fred Edens – from Sam Shipley – and City Attorney Roger Day – from Kim Birchfield.

Following the nominations process, Tester, Bill Carter, Mayor Curt Alexander, Wes Frazier and Jeff Treadway voted in favor for Hartman while Shipley and Birchfield voted for their respective nominees.

Alexander congratulated Hartman for the nomination and added the Council is looking forward to working alongside him. Hartman is a 2009 graduate of Milligan College and has served as director of planning for the city since 2012 and has stayed active with city and county development initiatives, along with working alongside Carter County Tomorrow and the Northeast Tennessee Regional Economic Partnership (NeTREP).

Near the beginning of the meeting, Alexander also took time to thank Kitchens for his service with a plaque in what would be his last Council meeting as manager. Kitchens was named interim manager in 2013 following the retirement of former manager Edebs. City Council went through a selection process following Edens’ retirement and elected to remove the interim title from Kitchens.


Community support was voiced early and often for the city to help maintain water quality of the Hampton Spring.

But due to the price tag of property, Council voted unanimously to defer the purchase of roughly 74 acres near the Hampton watershed for $130,000 until an independent survey can be performed and the purchase can be taken through budget.

Alexander indicated the city is in support of protecting the land for citizens but that the cost was a concern due to the property reportedly being purchased for a significantly less amount just four months prior. Alexander added that to show their willingness to work with current property owner, Eugene Lewis, he added a motion to make offer a $1,000 refundable deposit to Lewis to show their intent of working toward the property. The motion passed unanimously


City leaders also voted 6-1 to approve a three-year contract with Hampton Golf to assume a management role with the Elizabethton Golf Course. Frazier was the lone nay for the vote.

Jamie Selby, regional operations manager with Hampton Golf, was on site during the meeting and fielded questions from Council. Selby added the firm will work to continue partnerships formed by the course with schools and nonprofits for tournaments and other events. The agreement is a three-year contract with a $90,000 annual cost.