Cookeville city manager to retire

COOKEVILLE – Long-time Cookeville City Manager Jim Shipley has announced his plans for retirement. Shipley, who has served in his role since 1995, will step aside on or about March 1, 2015.

Shipley, 65, has served for five former city councils and mayor. The current mayor and council were seated in August this year, Shipley’s 19th as City Manager. 

“I think it is just my time,” Shipley said in a release. “The city of Cookeville is in good fiscal condition and there are many new and exciting developments on the horizon. I’ve been able to surround myself with a truly dedicated and capable staff, and great employees. I’ve always considered myself to be a private in the people’s army. It is time to let someone step in at what I believe is a pivotal point in the city’s continued growth – exciting times are ahead.”

The Cookeville city council, according to the release, is supportive of Shipley’s decision. The new council includes two former mayors, Chuck Womack (1998 – 2006) and Dwight (1998 – 2002). Henry reiterated Shipley’s vast knowledge and capabilities.

“He is the quintessential public servant,” Henry said. “It is impossible to enumerate things done under his watch. Jim’s footprint is everywhere in this town and his contributions will be felt for years to come. He will truly be missed.”

Added Mayor Ricky Shelton, “Jim has served this community well for many years. He may be one of the longest serving city managers in the state of Tennessee. I personally have worked with Jim during two other terms as a councilmember (2002-2010). I can truly say Jim Shipley has the best interests of this city and its citizens in his heart. Under Jim’s leadership, the city of Cookeville has experienced growth in jobs, population, quality of life and many other elements that make this city great. I join my colleagues in appreciation for Jim’s dedication to the betterment of our city, for his frugal management of our financial resources and for his accomplishments during his service here that have helped make Cookeville such a great place to live. ”   

The city of Cookeville will use a professional executive search firm to help facilitate and manage the recruitment and hiring process for Shipley’s replacement.

“While a local person may be the successful candidate, they will be competing with the best finalists that can be identified in an extensive search process,” Shelton said. “We will be looking for someone with the appropriate mix of vision, experience, leadership, management and public policy skills. We want a smooth transition and we will look to hire the person that can help Cookeville to become an even greater place to live, work and raise our families.”

Prior to being appointed City Manager, Shipley, a Vietnam veteran, served as an auditor in the Comptrollers’ office and for Roane County. His was hired in December 1983 as the Cookeville’s city clerk and finance director. The UCBJ honored Shipley in 2012 with an Ovation Award for Excellence in Business/Governmental Leadership.

A community reception will be planned after the first of the year to honor Jim Shipley.

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