Springfield City Manager Voted Out Of A Job Tuesday
(STORY UPDATED – See Below)
SPRINGFIELD TENNESSEE: (Smokey Barn News) – Springfield City Manager Paul Nutting is out of a job after a 4 to 3 vote by the Springfield Board of Mayor and Aldermen Tuesday evening at the city’s monthly meeting.
Paul nutting has been Springfield’s City manager for 21 years and has seen the city of Springfield through many changes but it would seem that at least some city officials were ready for a change.
Aldermen Bruce Head, Clay Sneed, Jeff Gragg and Tim Harris voted to replace Nutting. Aldermen Bobby Trotter, James Hubbard and Mayor Ann Schneider all voted to keep Nutting.
Assistant City Manager Regina Holt was named interim City manager while the city begins the process of replacing Nutting.
Smokey Barn News has learned that Alderman Clay Sneed added discussing Paul Nutting’s performance to the agenda just after the Pledge Of Allegiance at tonight’s city meeting.
Sneed told Smokey Barn News that he was frustrated by what appeared to be an attempt by Mayor Ann Schneider to limit the power each Alderman had.
Sneed said that he decided to add a discussion about Nutting’s performance to the agenda after seeing three things placed on this weeks agenda that, by his account, concerned him. They were, 1) An attempt to control how an Alderman could add an item to the agenda.
Now any Alderman can add an item to the agenda but under a new proposal two other alderman would have to agree. Sneed said that even if you could get two alderman to agree the Mayor could still veto the item.
2) There was an attempt to restrict access to the City Attorney. At present any Alderman can seek advice from the City Attorney. The proposed change would have forced an Alderman to first ask the City Manager (which was deferred to the Mayor) any questions before reaching out to the attorney.
3) There was an attempt to limit or change an Alderman’s ability to gain access to information through other city officials. (See copies of the 3 items below)
After reading the above items Sneed became concerned that the city was trying to limit and restrict how an Alderman does their job, effectually hamstringing their ability to get the information they need and put items on the agenda.
Sneed called it as close to a Constitutional Crisis as he has ever seen in Springfield.
All three of the above issues fell flat when it came to a vote. Following that Sneed’s request to discuss Nutting came to the floor. Sneed immediately made the motion to fire Nutting.
Declining further comment Alderman Bruce Head released the following statement.
“I respect and appreciate the service Paul Nutting has given to the city. However, I felt it was time for the city to have new leadership. ”
Smokey Barn News spoke to Paul Nutting after the meeting this evening, he seemed to be taking it all in stride.
“I was surprised, but you know, it’s been a long run. I had a long run at my last city I had a long run here.”
Nutting said he was on his last job in League TX for about 17 years starting as the city administrator for the first 14 years when he was promoted to city manager.
Tuesday night’s vote means Nutting will be cleaning out his desk immediately. “Here’s the thing about city management, it’s a very tough profession, Nutting said. “It’s often called one of the toughest professions in government because you swim in political waters but you cant be political.”
As the reality of what happened tonight sank in for Nutting he said “I got a big boulder taken off my shoulders, I think I’ll sleep in tomorrow, gee wiz, I think I’ll have a nice breakfast, I’ll get to do stuff!”
Nutting will be looking for another job but not before taking some time off to enjoy himself. “I have to clean out my office, I’ll work with the Mayor on that. I’ll turn my keys in and everything I have of the city’s, and get that out of the way. I’ll probably take a little time off and then I’ll be out looking for a job!
“It’s a good profession, it’s a tough profession, there’s just a lot of challenges to do it right but you can’t make everybody happy, you can only do what you think is the right thing to do and stick to your guns. If they can find someone like that, then they got themselves a good public servant.”
As far as the three items added to the agenda, Nutting said that Mayor Ann Schneider asked him to put them on the agenda but they were only an attempt to improve communication within the city and control costs but Nutting stressed that they were only added as talking points.
On the issue of the access to the city attorney Nutting said, “I didn’t even take a stand on that, just put it on there for discussion to see if there was anything they wanted to discuss.”
As far as access to department heads, “Everyone’s had total access to my staff since I’ve been there,” Nutting said.
“If you had questions, you know, I had several in my office today and not a single one of them brought it up. You got newly elected people, you got a new Mayor they were just some things you would want to discuss,” Nutting said.
In response to Nutting’s open office invitation Sneed said, “It would have been futile to discuss an issue with him.” Sneed used the word poison to describe his relationship with Nutting. “One of my experiences in trying to discuss with him an issue, I was told, ‘If I didn’t like it I could sue him.'”
We asked Nutting what memory or accomplishment stands out during his time as Springfield City Manager?
“You cant pick out anything, there’s just so many things. It’s not my accomplishment, it’s the things that the Board and Mayor and Aldermen and staff have worked together on and accomplished.
“It’s really about the whole approach to the city, we did so many things on so many various levels and all aspects of the city, that’s what I’m proud of, we got an awful lot done.”
Final word to the community?
It’s been my privilege to be here and I’ve enjoyed it and I wish everybody the best of luck.”
Smokey Barn News spoke with Springfield Mayor Ann Schneider Wednesday morning.
“We felt that this has been coming and I was concerned that this would be brought up, I’m not surprised. It was my desire to follow contract law. I kept asking the question about how much liability is going to be on the city to do it this way and immediately release Paul, that was my concern last night. The way that I read the contract, we will be giving him three months severance pay, benefits and earned vacation days.
“Last night we did vote to make the Assistant City Manager Gina Holt the interim manager and we have the confidence that she will do the job and do it well. It is my desire today to make sure that all of our employees know their jobs are secure and that city business will go on.
“We are now going to do a national search. I (one of the seven on the board) personally want us to look for 1.) A business friendly city manager, 2.) Someone who is very qualified and capable of doing this job, those are the main things that I’m looking for.
“I want to thank Paul for everything he has done for the city of Springfield in his 21 years as city manager”
This is a developing story, if new information comes to light we will bring it to you.
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