JACKSONVILLE — The City Council on Thursday voted to give its finance director a $25,000 raise and promote him to city administrator — a new position for the municipality — in an effort to keep him on staff.
Jarrod Simmons worked as the city’s finance director for about a year and half before he was named the city administrator at Thursday’s meeting.
Simmons recently received another job offer for a position that he said came with a pay increase that was too significant to ignore.
Mayor Johnny Smith said in the meeting that officials hope that the new offer will entice him to stay.
Effective immediately, Simmons will supervise city administrative offices in addition to managing city finances.
“He’s up-to-date in all aspects of city government,” said council President Mark Jones.
Simmons salary will increase to $85,000 from $60,000. The title of administrator is a first for him and for Jacksonville. Until now, 15 people have answered to the city’s part-time mayor.
“That is just not the structure that you need to have,” Jones said. “You really need somebody who is more of a city administrator.”
Now the city clerk, building, parks recreation and planning departments, city court, human resource employees, library and Retired and Senior Volunteer Program employees will be under Simmons’ supervision. The police, fire, street and utility departments will remain under the mayor’s supervision.
Smith said he had no problem with the former model, but he feels the new model will free him up to spend more time recruiting industry, attending community events and visiting the departments that remain under his supervision.
“This is going to be a great help,” Smith said. “He just seems to be a good fit for us.”
Smith said the council had discussed the possibility of hiring a city administrator for at least two years, but they decided to move forward with the plan to hire one now to retain Simmons. Simmons came to the City of Jacksonville after working in the finance department in Anniston for about eight years. He has worked as the finance director in Jacksonville for about a year and a half. He said while the pay increase offered by the other entity — which officials declined to identify — was substantial, he has no plans to leave Jacksonville now that the city has given him a new opportunity.
“I plan to stay here,” Simmons told a reporter moments after the vote. “I think Jacksonville is poised to do good things.”