Lewisburg's councilmen have reached a consensus that the next city manager should be paid an annual salary no lower than $60,000 and no more than $90,000, unless there's an exceptional applicant.
"I realize that everybody's got a couple of trees' worth of paper," Councilman Quinn Brandon Stewart said dryly on Tuesday evening after she and her fellow councilmen were provided copies of all the applications.
It's expected that some of the 27 applicants will withdraw when they hear the salary cap. Several applicants have already been paid more than $100,000. Recently retired City Manager Eddie Fuller's salary was approaching $80,000 when he left office.
Setting a salary range was seen as a way to reduce the number of applications to a more manageable number. That agreement was reached during discussion at a non-voting workshop of the council in City Hall.
Another factor regarding the city manager's position that was discussed Tuesday was the house in Lone Oak Cemetery that was provided as a residence for Fuller.
"I don't want the house to be part of the salary," Councilman Ronald McRady said.
Other councilmen had differing views and City Treasurer and Recorder Connie Edde explained the chain of events that led to Fuller's use of the house.
Fuller didn't get a pay raise for four years, Edde said. That was a factor during budget deliberations more than a decade ago.
The house is well within the cemetery and had been a caretaker's residence. It had been used by different department leaders over the years.
A previous resident "virtually destroyed" the interior of the building, the treasurer reported.
"I don't think that it was understood that he (Fuller) wouldn't get any more pay raises" after the living quarters were provided, she said.
The house was empty when Fuller moved in. He'd moved from the house before he left office.
"I think something needs to be done with it," Stewart said.
McRady suggested that the house might be used for a consolidated dispatch center for the county and its cities, but Police Chief Chuck Forbis later said that would require extensive renovations and that while emergency vehicles probably wouldn't be going to the communications center on a regular basis, there would be increased traffic through the cemetery from employees, vendors and service personnel.
"We're getting calls about the house," McRady said.
Some people in his district oppose using the house as part of a compensation plan for the next manager.
"People in your district might change their minds if they knew the details," Mayor Barbara Woods responded to McRady's report on his constituency.
The council is scheduled to return to its discussion about the next city manager at 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 30.
By then, the 27 applicants are to have been called, advised about the salary range, and asked to reply in a timely fashion.