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Board votes to employ Haley as Millington’s next manager

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By Bill ShortFlag City Logo

The Millington Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted unanimously this week to employ well-known former resident Ed Haley as the next city manager.
Board members took the action Monday night during their regular monthly meeting on a motion offered by Alderman Thomas McGhee and seconded by Alderman Frankie Dakin.
Mayor Terry Jones, City Attorney Charles Perkins and Interim City Manager Mike Chesney were authorized to negotiate a contract with Haley on behalf of the board.
A former Millington alderman and member of the Municipal Airport Authority, Haley was the Millington Jaycees’ Person of the Year in 1968, ‘69 and ‘71. He also received the Millington Area Chamber of Commerce’s Person of the Year Award in 1971.
While serving in the Tennessee General Assembly for eight years as a state representative, Haley was named Legislator of the Year in 1994, ‘96 and ‘98.
A member of the Tennessee City Managers Association since 2003, he is currently employed as Arlington’s town superintendent.
During a special meeting on Aug. 12, 2013, the board hired Chesney as interim city manager. That was one week after it voted to terminate the employment of Thomas Christie, who had served for seven months as the city’s first professional manager.
At the conclusion of his first report to the board during its Sept. 3 regular monthly meeting, Chesney requested that an opening for the permanent position be posted on the city’s Web site.
While noting on Monday night that he has “loved every minute” of his five months in the position, Chesney acknowledged that it has been a “challenge” for him to learn municipal government.
“You all have been patient with me, and I really do appreciate it,” he told the board members. “But the time has come to move on.”
Chesney said that, when the board asked him and the mayor to find a new city manager, they approached the task “very seriously.”
He noted that, anytime he has been involved in searches, he has always relied on a “third party” for advice. And in this case, he contacted Ronnie Neill of The University of Tennessee’s Municipal Technical Advisory Service.
As they talked with the 22 applicants for the position, Chesney said he and Neill sought three criteria: (1) a team builder, (2) an “encourager” who knows the job, and (3) someone who can work “very well” with the mayor and aldermen.
And as it always does, he said, a name kept “surfacing.”
“You keep drilling down until you find the heart, the passion and the knowledge of who you need in that position,” he noted. “That’s exactly what happened here, and I’m very pleased with the outcome.”
Chesney said he, Jones and Neill believe Haley has a “passion” for Millington, a “wealth” of experience and the “relationship-building capability” to take the city to the “next level.”
Haley told the board Monday night that, when he and Chesney began talking about the position, he “begged” the interim city manager to stay in the job. Calling Chesney “a super individual,” he said Millington has “truly been blessed” to have him.
In response to a question by McGhee, Haley said his “management philosophy” regarding city department directors is to “pick” and “work” with individuals who can “identify the needs” and develop a plan to meet them in an “honest, forthright” and “timely” manner that is within the budget. Then, reward those individuals “accordingly” for their performance.
Accepting the new job offer, Haley acknowledged that he had not yet informed Arlington Mayor Mike Wissman, because he never attempts to “second-guess” what will happen in the “political arena.”
During an interview after the meeting, Haley said he would call Wissman that evening and give him a letter Tuesday morning “explaining the decision.” Because he will give Arlington two weeks’ notice, he said his “objective” is to be in Millington on Feb. 1.
“I’m humbled by the opportunity to come back home and be a servant of the people,” he concluded. “I will do my very best to make sure we all work together and move forward as a team doing what’s best for the citizens we all work for.”

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