Johnson City News

Home More News Johnson City Board of Commissioners selects Cathy Ball for city manager position

Oct. 1, 2021

Johnson City Board of Commissioners selects Cathy Ball for city manager position

The Johnson City Board of Commissioners unanimously voted to offer Cathy Ball the position of city manager at a special called meeting Thursday. Ball was selected following a nationwide search led by Strategic Government Resources (SGR).  

Ball currently serves as assistant city manager for the City of Asheville, N.C., and previously served as the City’s interim city manager for nearly a year in 2018. As assistant city manager she is responsible for the oversight of various city departments including planning and urban design, community and economic development, development services, public works, parks and recreation, transportation, capital projects and water resources.

Ball joined Asheville in 1997 as a city engineer and subsequently held the positions of director of engineering and transportation and public works director before being promoted into the role of assistant city manager in 2013. She previously was an assistant city engineer in Greenville, S.C., for nearly a decade.

“All five finalists were certainly qualified but the decision came down to the candidate whose experience and skills were best suited to Johnson City’s needs,” said Mayor Joe Wise. “This selection is so important because that one person, that one position has such a large impact in establishing and maintaining a positive corporate culture within the City and sets the tone for many, many years to come.”

The vote comes at the conclusion of a two-day in-person interview process. Five candidates under consideration for the position visited the City of Johnson City and participated in an extensive schedule of activities that included individual interviews with each City Commissioner, panel interviews with City staff, presentations to the full commission, and a meet-and-greet reception for the community.

The Johnson City Board of Commissioners referenced Ball’s breadth and depth of experience in Greenville and Asheville and complimented her communications style as well as her vision for the City in their remarks.

Vice Mayor Todd Fowler summarized the search process that has been under way since May, noting that the Commission asked 11 of 34 applicants to submit video responses to questions before inviting the five finalists to participate in-person interviews.

“We have been receiving and reviewing candidate information for months,” said Vice Mayor Todd Fowler. “There was intensive preparation leading up to the past two days, which confirmed that Cathy is the right choice for Johnson City.”

That sentiment was echoed by community members who expressed strong support for Ball following the public meet and greet.

Ball and the City of Johnson City will now negotiate terms of her contract, which will then be formally approved by the Board of Commissioners.

The city manager, who is appointed by the City Commission, serves as the chief administrative officer, managing day-to-day operations in accordance with policies and procedures set forth by the Board. Current City Manager Pete Peterson announced in March his plans to retire at the end of the year after more than 30 years of service with the City of Johnson City. SGR was hired by the Board of Commissioners to lead a national search for his successor.