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City administrator resigns
Bill Brock to leave Feb. 1
Brock resigns.jpg
City administrator Bill Brock, left, shakes hands with Mayor Ben Newman while talking with Newman and Alderman Ryle Chastain on Tuesday night. - photo by Lisa Hobbs

Bill Brock has announced his resignation as McMinnville city administrator, effective Feb. 1.

During Tuesday night’s regular session of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, Brock took the podium and began to read what turned out to be an eight-week notice of his departure.

During his prepared statement, Brock recapped what led to his decision and thanked many city employees for their dedicated service, but had harsh words for former McMinnville Mayor Jimmy Haley, twice calling him a “snake in the grass.”

“On June 12, former mayor, or snake in the grass as I call him, asked the board to get MTAS to start the process,” said Brock of Haley’s desire to start the process of hiring a new city administrator. “The board saw what was going on and they stepped up and they changed the minimum qualifications. June 26 was first read on those minimum qualifications. July 10 was the second and final reading on those. Aug. 2 the job was posted. Sept. 1, former mayor, snake in the grass, crawled off to the county to suck a little glory over there. Oct. 1 the job posting was closed. Everybody had to have their application in. I had one in, as well as 20 something other people. Now, here we are tonight, Nov. 27.”

Brock attempted to dispel any rumor that he was forced out as city administrator by members of the current board.

“I want everyone to know this was my choice,” said Brock. “I don’t want coffee shop talk tomorrow. I don’t want ‘Talk Back,’ or as I call it ‘Bite Back,’ to say I was forced out. No one has asked me to leave this city and no one has forced me out of this job. No one. I want to say that again. This was my decision. I made it for me and my family. There’s not a person sitting up here that has asked me to go away. In fact, you have encouraged me. I want that to be well understood.”

Brock said he gave much consideration to his decision to retire.

“It is now my desire to move onto the next chapter for myself and my family and retire effective Feb. 1, 2019. This decision does not come easy. It comes with mixed emotions. When you spend more than 30 years pouring yourself into a career, it takes a lot of thought and preparation to move in a different direction. I appreciate each opportunity that I’ve been given through the years, as well as the faith that this board has had in me and the daily decisions that I faced for the betterment of the city. I hope the road that has been traveled has made a positive impact on McMinnville.”

Brock spent the last four years as acting city administrator. Prior to that, he was the director of the city’s Public Works Department for 26 years.

His prepared statement expressed gratitude for the support of city employees, whom he called the best employees one can ask for, and department heads for their dedication and support. 

The resignation comes as the city has opened applications for the city administrator job and 21 people applied, including Brock. That process started in June at the request of then-Mayor Jimmy Haley, who expressed a desire to find a permanent city administrator.

Brock urged board members to reject those applicants and start again.

“All the No. 1 applicants, I feel, haven’t waited. They’ve found other jobs,” said Brock. “A good person will move on and you don’t want what’s left. Mayor Newman said many times, and it kind of hurt my feels but I understood what he meant by it, that ‘Bill, may be the best but if there’s somebody out there better, we want him for the city.’ I didn’t agree then, but I agree now. That’s what this city deserves: the best. Not No. 2 or No. 3 and lord there are some No. 4s in this group.”

Brock says there are some qualified individuals who didn’t apply because he did.

“I’ve had people in the city and the county right here in this room say, ‘If you’re going to apply, I will not.’ I respected that. I appreciated that. I’ve had people in the public talk to me about it. I’ve also had current city administrators in other cities asking me if I’m going to apply. They always say, ‘Are you going to apply for your job?’ Yes, I am. They didn’t apply.”

Brock impressed upon them the importance of finding the right person. 

“As far as I’m concerned this is the most important decision this board will ever make. You can vote up or down on the Civic Center and it won’t matter, but hire somebody that will tear this city apart and tear employees apart and you’ve got a city gone down the toilet, and I’ve seen it happen. I’m asking this board tonight to reject every application and notify MTAS to start the process over. It’s not too late to do it.”

Haley, now county executive, did not respond when asked about Brock’s comments. He did issue a prepared statement to the newspaper.

“For 30 years, Bill Brock has been a dedicated public servant for the city of McMinnville,” said Haley. “While I was mayor, Mr. Brock and I worked closely together on many projects, and I observed first-hand his dedication to our community. As county executive and former mayor, I wish to thank Mr. Brock for his diligence as a city employee and now wish him the best as he prepares for retirement.”

Board members made no move to honor Brock’s request of restarting the city administrator application process.