Hemann interviews for Tennessee job

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 2, 2011

By Emily Ford
SALISBURY — The mayor of Red Bank, Tenn., said he was “extremely impressed” after an interview with Randy Hemann, executive director for Downtown Salisbury Inc.
Hemann is a finalist for the city manager’s job of the town surrounded by Chattanooga.
“I was very favorably impressed with Randy,” Mayor Monty Millard said Thursday. “He was very smooth, very professional.”
In an unusual proceeding, Hemann and four other candidates were interviewed in public by city commissioners. Residents could attend the interviews but not ask questions.
The other candidates, who are all from Red Bank, also did well, said Millard. He said he held the interviews in public to make the process more transparent.
Hemann will be given “some strong consideration,” said Millard, who plans a vote for noon Tuesday.
Hemann, who has led Downtown Salisbury since 1997, did not return phone calls from the Post.
According to an article posted Wednesday at www.chattanoogan.com, Hemann told commissioners he has peaked in his career in downtown development and wants a new challenge.
He said Red Bank is located in a “wonderful region” his wife and young son would enjoy, according to www.chattanoogan.com.
“We want to be where God intends for us to be. It will be a matter of prayer,” Hemann said, according to the article.
Millard said commissioners were surprised Hemann was interested in managing Red Bank, which has a population 11,000. It has problems with vacant commercial buildings and housing code violations. Several former and current police department employees are suing the city.
Commissioners voted 3-2 in October to fire the previous city manager, who had served for six years.
After researching Salisbury, Millard said commissioners were impressed with Hemann’s success and the progress the downtown has made during his tenure. Hemann credited a large number of people over a long period of time for the downtown transformation, Millard said.
“We want that same type of rejuvenation to occur in our city,” Millard said.
Red Bank has several issues, especially with the police department, that “need some attention,” he said.
“We just hope that Randy has the ability to fairly look at those issues, and if corrections are needed, to impose those,” Millard said. “Our biggest concern is that he doesn’t know what all has gone on in our city.”
But that’s also Hemann’s greatest advantage, Millard added.
Commissioners named him as a finalist specifically because they wanted to consider an outsider for the job — someone who could come in with no prejudices and no history to fairly evaluate the city, he said.
Millard, who described Hemann as honest and sincere, said city leaders are looking for someone who will stick around.
“We’re not looking to go out on a date. We want to get married,” he said. “We want someone to come in and embrace our city and … send their kids to school here and go to church here and have a real stake in our city.”
Hemann is up against an accountant, the fire chief, a real estate developer and chairman of Red Bank’s Republican Party.
Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.