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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

City Manager for "Trivial Ordinance Capitol" City of White House, TN

“City Administrator, City of White House, Tennessee

Post Date: Jan 17, 2012 Salary:

Start Date: Application Deadline : N/A

ICMA Members Only : No ICMA Credential (Details): preferred

Normal Population: 10,255 Seasonal Population:

Employer Location: White House, Tennessee United States

Keywords: management, administration

Job Description

White House is an emerging city, which covers approximately 11 square miles with a current population of 10,255 residents. The City is governed by a five-member Board of Mayor and Aldermen elected for four-year terms. The City is managed by a professionally trained City Administrator. The City of White House is a full-service City. The total expense budget for the FY 2010/11 is $19.3 million with 79 full-time and 15 part-time employees. The City is in excellent financial condition. The City Administrator shall be the chief administrative officer of the City.

The City is seeking a new City Administrator to replace their current City Administrator. The Board of Mayor and Aldermen is seeking an outstanding individual who has the experience and vision to assist the Board of Mayor and Aldermen to take the White House community to a new level of success.

A Bachelor’s degree in Public or Business Administration or a related field is required. A Master of Public Administration, Business Administration or related advanced degree is preferred. Evidence of continued professional development through active participation in professional membership associations and activities preferred. An ICMA Credentialed Public Manager would be a plus.

Five years of progressively responsible experience as a city or county manager, deputy city or county manager or assistant city or county manager or related experience in a comparably sized or larger, full-service city is required. Experience in planning and development issues, economic development, wastewater and infrastructure development and citizen outreach is required. Experience in Tennessee and familiarity with Tennessee laws, especially the Tennessee Open Records law, would be a plus.

Salary range is expected to be $66,222 and $92,711 per annum, depending on experience and qualifications plus benefits.”

The description doesn’t sound too bad, but unlike most municipal manager job vacancies, it says little about the city to which the successful applicant would need to relocate. This omission motivated me to visit the city’s website to find out what, if anything, the city was hiding. I then found the municipal code:

I scoured the ordinances to see how many “model ordinances” the city had adopted and came across dictatorial restrictions on public conduct.

If you want to play baseball in the park but all the diamonds are in use, refrain from throwing or hitting the ball unless you’re in the mood to pay a citation per Section 2-105.3(k). Be sure to leave the ball park within one hour following sunset because then you’ll be trespassing in violation of Section 2-105.2(c). Don’t leave your bicycle in the public recreation center after hours, or else it will be towed at your expense per Section 2-105.2(e). Lay it flat before you leave, and you’ll also pay a citation for creating a trip hazard in violation of Section 2-105.3(g)v. Make sure you clean up after yourself in the public restroom so that you comply with Section 2-105.3(a)ii. Failure to flush is not only a discourtesy but also a crime in White House, TN!

Don’t stop in any City of White House park on your way back from an adult social outing because being in the park while intoxicated is forbidden via 2-105.4(a)ii. Are you wearing a party dress, sagging pants, or other revealing outfit? Cover up when passing the park because Section 2-105.4(e) forbids anyone to “appear at any place in other than proper clothing.” That ordinance’s concise construction implies that merely covering your naughty parts is insufficient protection from prosecution, so the less flesh shown, the safer you are from receiving a citation.

Let’s say a police officer is pursuing an insufficiently clothed park goer who decided to run rather than face immediate citation. Let us presume that at some point, the officer trips, sprains his/her ankle, and knocks the hand radio battery out of its compartment into a puddle. Without a radio, the officer yells for someone to help apprehend the perpetrator before the opportunity is lost. If you’re a bystander, does your sex change the consequence of refusing to help the officer?

Given this scenario is in White House, the answer is yes! Behold Section 6-105: “It shall be unlawful for any male person willfully to refuse to aid a policeman in maintaining law and order or in making a lawful arrest when such a person's assistance is requested by the policeman and is reasonably necessary.” Women may refuse to help police officers without being fined, but any man who refuses will be fined!

Do you own and/or operate a business? What type of business is it? If it is the telling of fortunes or anything involving entertainment via psychics, be prepared to charge extra for your services within White House city limits to cover the cost of fines. Section 11-201 states, “It shall be unlawful for any person to conduct the business of, solicit for, or ply the trade of fortune teller, clairvoyant, hypnotist, spiritualist, palmist, phrenologist, or other mystic endowed with supernatural powers.” Fortune telling is forbidden! Strangely, the municipal code does not contain provisions for shutting down a fortune-telling business such as evicting businesses from storefronts or confiscation of fortune-telling paraphernalia. I suppose increased revenues from fortune teller citations offset political opposition to such businesses.

Another heavy-handed ordinance is Section 11-805, which prohibits masks to be worn anyone over the age of 9 years except by "holiday costume" permit! I’m surprised the ordinance does not ban babushkas or bandannas in general when considering how many robbers and thieves can readily slip a bandanna or two over their face. I do not see an exemption for sport mascots or for ski masks. Thankfully, neither the Tennessee Titans nor a bitterly cold front are anticipated anytime soon in White House.

If all that isn’t enough to discourage potential applicants, the vacancy description omits the salary range. Although I did not find the municipal budget for White House, TN, I did find its structure of pay grades and ranges:

It turns out the City Manager may earn $66,222 to $92,711. The starting pay is comparatively low compared to similar positions in small cities, towns, and villages (having a mode minimum salary of $71,000), but I presume it discourages applications from aspiring public administrators who are in the field primarily for a secure paycheck. I searched for information on the cost of living to see whether the lower pay is standard for the area:

Considering how the cost of living in White House, TN is 26% cheaper than the cost of living in Milwaukee, WI and how the pay for comparable positions is only 9.5% lower in White House than in Milwaukee, a net earnings increase of about 16.5% occurs when you’re not being fined for laying your bicycle in the park, playing baseball on parkland not within the baseball diamond proper, or being caught holding a séance, using a dowsing rod, or promoting a Psychic Hotline.

For the record, it should be noted that the vacancy was posted by the City of White House, which is 25 miles north of Nashville (in Robertson and Sumner Counties), and not by the City of Whitehouse, which is 40 miles west of Nashville (in Hickman County). I cannot speculate on the ordinances of the latter city because I could not find its website (if it has one). Any readers have further information?

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