CROSSVILLE – Crossville City Manager David Rutherford was suspended this week – just weeks after a similar motion to have him fired failed – and the Crossville City Council will take final action next week to formally dismiss him from his post.
Rutherford, who has served as the city’s top official since September 2013, was suspended during a special called meeting Monday. After failing to cite a “smoking gun” in a previous firing attempt in February, councilman Jesse Kerley this round accused Rutherford of violating the city’s spending policy, although he failed to elaborate further.
He demanded Rutherford’s resignation prior to the week’s meeting, but Rutherford declined. After the vote for suspension had passed, Rutherford excused himself from the meeting.
“What’s gone on here is a travesty. An absolute travesty,” said councilman Pete Souza. “We had a city manager who was moving us forward, the best city manager this city has ever seen, and people went behind the scenes to cause problems.”
Souza ultimately voted yes on the suspension “to keep peace at city hall,” he said, but said an unnamed “tri-pack” of council members was trying to take control of the city.
“They’ll bring in the puppet they want, to do what they tell them,” he said
If Rutherford is officially removed – the council is meeting Thursday, April 14, to vote on that motion – his severance package would include up to six-months worth of pay. That’s estimated to be around $50,000. Rutherford had approximately one year left on his contract with the city; he makes $95,000 a year.
Steve Hill, a retired parks and recreation supervisor, has been named city manager in the interim and was sworn in Monday. The council will discuss how it wants to recruit to fill that position when it meets.