Former Elizabethton City Manager Stahl has 35 years in government service

Published 8:57 am Friday, May 10, 2019

By Greg Miller

STAR Correspondent

Former Elizabethton City Manager Charlie Stahl IV has been involved in local government for 35 years.

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Stahl has served as the Assistant City Manager for the City of Johnson City since 2006, overseeing several city departments including Parks & Recreation (including Golf, the Senior Center at Memorial Park Community Center), Transit, Fleet Management and the Freedom Hall Civic Center. In addition to working directly with the heads of the departments he oversees, additional duties are assigned to Stahl and the other Assistant City Manager, Bob Wilson, by City Manager Pete Peterson.

Stahl began working for the City of Johnson City while he was still a graduate student at East Tennessee State University. Following his graduation from ETSU with a Master of City Management degree in 1983, Stahl was initially hired by then City Manager John Campbell as a Budget Assistant and then became the City’s first Budget Director, a position he served in from 1984-1988. It was during that period that Johnson City received the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) Award for Distinguished Budget Presentation for the 1986-87 fiscal year.

In 1988 Stahl was appointed as Treasurer/Assistant City Manager for the City of Bluefield, W.Va., a position he served until 1994.

Stahl was appointed as Elizabethton’s 16th city manager serving in that capacity from February 1994-June 2006. In 2001, Stahl was selected as the Tennessee City Management Association’s “City Manager of the Year.” “My career goal was to be a city manager,” he said. “I achieved that in Elizabethton and was grateful to be able to do that for over 12 years. A secondary goal was to try to have a successful career in local government where you can leave whenever you choose to leave a job or retire with a feeling of accomplishment when the timing is right.”

Stahl describes his time working and living in Elizabethton as “very rewarding.” He says he left the Elizabethton position for only “positive reasons. I look back at Elizabethton as a great place to live and work. My children, Tori and Joey, both were educated in Elizabethton City Schools from kindergarten thru graduation, receiving a great education. Both went on to graduate from the University of Tennessee.

“I returned to Johnson City for all the positive reasons, basically to work again for that city in a new capacity as assistant city manager and to work with folks I worked with years ago when I started my career, so it was kind of a homecoming of sorts to go back full circle.”

Stahl says the most enjoyable aspect of all his jobs has been “interacting with a variety of different people,” helping solve needs and problems and working on a variety of projects with dedicated people. People throughout this entire area, Stahl says, “are basically down-to-earth good folks. They want a good quality of life and have opportunities for their family. They want services to be affordable and efficient and there is nothing wrong with that.” One of the most rewarding projects for Stahl was “working on the acquisition of what is now called the ‘Tweetsie Trail,’ which became a five-year process for the city to purchase a 10-mile section of the East Tennessee Railway line and an additional three years to develop the railroad grade into a recreational trail using private donations and local tax dollars to accomplish this goal.”

Stahl is the son of the late Charles J. Stahl, III M.D. and Johnson City resident Ellen Stahl, a retired R.N. Stahl’s dad was a career Navy doctor and the Navy’s first forensic pathologist. When Dr. Stahl retired from the Navy, the family moved to Johnson City nearly 40 years ago following his appointment to be a professor of Pathology at the Quillen College of Medicine at East Tennessee State University and Chief of Laboratory Service at the Mountain Home VA. Dr. Stahl also was appointed as Assistant Chief Medical Examiner for the State of Tennessee in the First Judicial District. Dr. Stahl completed his 40-year career as the Armed Forces Medical Examiner in Washington, D.C.

Stahl has served on a variety of boards throughout his career, including the Carter County Emergency Communication District, Carter County Health Board of Health, and Elizabethton/Carter County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. He is a former member of the Elizabethton Rotary Club. He currently serves on the Johnson City Parks & Recreation Board, and the Johnson City-Washington County Veterans Memorial Foundation. He served on the Washington County United Way Board from 2015-16.

Stahl’s wife, Janet, is a Roan Mountain native and graduate of Cloudland High School and ETSU. They attend First Christian Church in Johnson City.