April 10, 2012
The Honorable Anthony DeMatteo, Mayor
Town of Estill Springs
P.O. Drawer 100
Estill Springs, Tennessee 37330
Re: The mayor’s appointment of staff
Dear Mayor DeMatteo
City Recorder Tina Smith indicated that you have requested clarification on the appointment of the fire chief and assistant fire chief under the city’s charter and municipal ordinances. The charter outlines the following duties of the mayor:
6-3-106. Duties of mayor.—
(a) The mayor:
(1) Shall be the chief executive officer of the municipality and
shall preside at meetings of the board;
(2) Shall communicate any information needed, and recommend
measures the mayor deems expedient to the board;
(3) (A) Shall make temporary appointments of any officer or
department head as those terms defined in § 6-1-101, except that
of alderman, arising from the absence, sickness or disability of any
such officer or department head, and shall report such
appointment to the board at its next regular meeting.
(B) The board may confirm or reject the mayor's
temporary appointments, or, at its discretion, make its own
temporary appointments. The board shall make appointments to
fill vacancies in office.
(4) (A) May call special meetings of the board upon adequate
notice to the board and adequate public notice;
(B) Shall state the matters to be considered at the special
meeting and the action of the board shall be limited to those
(5) Shall countersign checks and drafts drawn upon the
treasury by the treasurer and sign all contracts to which the municipality
is a party;
(6) As a member of the board, may make motions and shall have
a vote on all matters coming before the board;
(7) Shall make appointments to boards and commissions as
authorized by law.
(b) Unless otherwise designated by the board by ordinance, the mayor
shall perform the following duties or may designate a department head or
department heads to perform any of the following duties:
(1) Those duties set forth in § 6-4-101, if the board does not
appoint a city administrator or if someone else is not designated by the
board to perform those duties.
(2) (A) Employ, promote, discipline, suspend and discharge
all employees and department heads, in accordance with personnel
policies and procedures, if any, adopted by the board;
(B) Nothing in this charter shall be construed as granting
a property interest to employees or department heads in their
(3) Act as purchasing agent for the municipality in the purchase
of all materials, supplies and equipment for the proper conduct of the
municipality's business; provided, that all purchases shall be made in
accordance with policies, practices and procedures established by the
(4) Prepare and submit the annual budget and capital program
to the board for their adoption by ordinance; and
(5) Such other duties as may be designated or required by the
I could not find an ordinance assigning the above duties to someone other than the mayor as required by the charter; therefore, those duties are the responsibility of the mayor. I did find a set of personnel regulations passed by resolution that indicate all appointments to full-time and full-time probationary positions with the Town of Estill Springs shall be made by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen. As you may know a resolution does not meet the charter requirement of an ordinance. It is my opinion that the mayor currently has the power to employ, promote, discipline, suspend and discharge all employees and department heads in accordance with the town’s charter and ordinances and this includes the fire chief and assistant fire chief. If the board does not want the mayor to have this power, they need to revisit the issue and provide otherwise as required by the town charter.
In the absence of a city administrator the mayor also performs the following duties of the city administrator:
6-4-101. Duties of city administrator.—
(a) The board may appoint a
city administrator who shall be under the control and direction of the board.
The city administrator shall report and be responsible to the board.
(b) The board may, by ordinance, require the city administrator to
perform any or all the following duties:
(1) Administer the business of the municipality;
(2) Make recommendations to the board for improving the
quality and quantity of public services to be rendered by the officers and
employees to the inhabitants of the municipality;
(3) Keep the board fully advised as to the conditions and needs
of the municipality;
(4) Report to the board the condition of all property, real and
personal, owned by the municipality and recommend repairs or
replacements as needed;
(5) Recommend to the board and suggest the priority of
programs or projects involving public works or public improvements that
should be undertaken by the municipality;
(6) Recommend specific personnel positions, as may be required
for the needs and operations of the municipality, and may propose
personnel policies and procedures for approval of the board; and
(7) Perform such other duties as may from time to time be
designated or required by the board.
I also noticed that the current personnel ordinance indicated that amendments to the personnel policies may be made by resolution. An ordinance is required to amend an ordinance. Unless the town has repealed the personnel ordinance, it appears that the town has a set of personnel regulations in the municipal code (ordinance) and a set passed by resolution. They need to be combined into one.
Please call me if you have questions or comments.
Municipal Management Consultant
Cc. City Recorder Tina Smith