The council hired Chad Rogers, a full-time firefighter with the Chattanooga Fire Department since 2010, after a special called meeting March 1.
The hiring followed nearly a week of heated words about who should have been considered for the position.
“We had four or five good applicants, and we had to weed through them,” mayor Teddy Harris said, adding that Rogers has agreed to do the full-time job for a part-time salary of $15,000 annually. “It is going to save us about $25,000 per year, and he has a six-month probationary period, so we will see how this all works out.”
Mayor Harris and council member Joyce Wall pushed for Rogers’ hire, but council member Rick Buff questioned the selection process.
“My problem is not the person we are hiring. It is the way we handled this whole situation,” said Buff, a former athletic director with a longtime involvement with the Rossville athletic program.
He said his primary concern is Rogers’ ability to handle two full-time jobs.
“Down the road somewhere, it affects one of the two jobs. One of those two jobs is going to suffer,” Buff said, based on his personal hiring experiences. “Our recreation program has really started to thrive. I had a vision of it just growing. I don’t think that we can do that with a part-time recreation director.”
Marvin “Stump” Martin, the city’s former athletic director, shares Buff’s skepticism. He estimates that he worked on average 60 hours per week, in addition to frequently relying on volunteer help from his wife and coaches in the program.
“I had a vision for the athletics program in the once-thriving mill town and a dream that I could be a part of bringing Rossville back,” Martin said. “I now understand that will not become a reality.”
Still, the new athletic director believes he can make it work by relying on volunteers in the athletic program on days when he is unavailable due to firefighter duties.
Rogers said he could use most of his vacation days from his other job to fill in when tournaments become a priority, but Buff questioned that solution and the city’s potential liability.
A former Lookout Valley High School running back, Rogers played football at Cleveland State College from 1996-98. He served as an assistant offensive line coach at Signal Mountain High School for two seasons and spent eight years in different roles within the Lookout Valley Youth Athletic Association, including serving as president in 2011.
The mayor said Rogers’ selection is partially based on financial conditions.
“Things are getting tight, and Rossville has done real well financially as far as making ends meet, but things are getting tough,” Harris said.
Council member Hal Gray did not attend the meeting.