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July 19, 2004 (updated October 2017)
You have asked about the authority of the Mayor to re-hire a full-time employee who was fired by the prior City Administrator, even though the Board of Mayor and Aldermen may disagree with such a decision and instead desire part-time employees.
The checks and balances which the Board usually exercises to counter the actions of the Mayor (or Administrator if such a person were now employed) are threefold. First, each position in the workforce must be authorized in terms of both the creation of the position and payment of wages for a person in the position. This is done through the budget. So if the Board did not want this position again, or if they wanted it to be part-time, then they would only authorize and budget for the position at a part-time level in the budget. However, in your case I understand that the Town is operating on a continuing resolution budget, which means that everything is continuing as it was last year. This includes the authorization for a full-time position. Thus, in terms of the budget as a check and balance, the Mayor is within his authority to fill the position with a full-time employee. Passage of a new budget could change this.
The second check and balance refers to the authority to hire. You operate under the Mayor-Aldermanic charter, and you previously passed an ordinance supplementing that charter by creating a City Administrator position, who was given the authority by ordinance to hire and fire all employees. But you recently passed an ordinance which discontinued the City Administrator position. In this case your charter states that the Mayor will assume these duties unless the Board designates someone else by ordinance, which I understand they have not done (see TCA 6-3-106(b)). Thus the authority to hire and fire now rests with the Mayor. Passage of a different ordinance could change this.
The third check and balance comes in the form of Personnel Policies and Procedures. The Board can establish parameters which detail the hiring and firing process. I have not examined yours but I assume that the hiring and firing process has been undertaken in accordance with these policies.
Finally, in terms of re-hiring someone who was previously fired that decision will rest with you, the Mayor, since you have the authority to fill the position. I would be careful, however, when re-hiring a fired employee because they may have been fired for a reason which was legitimate, and therefore re-hiring them could expose the Town to new liabilities.
I hope I have answered your questions. If not, or if I can provide any further detail, please feel free to call.
Municipal Management Consultant