To maintain the quality of life expected by its nearly 17,000 citizens, the 142- full-time employees of the city of Goodlettsville are always hard at work doing their best to balance the needs and wants of the community, providing and maintaining excellent services, and still operate in a highly efficient and cost-effective manner.
Accomplishing all of these things might not be possible without the leadership of Goodlettsville City Manager Tim Ellis, who is known for going above and beyond the call of duty for the community both in his professional life and as a private citizen.
It is for this reason the Tennessee City Management Association (TCMA) has recognized Tim Ellis as its City Manager of the Year for 2017. Ellis was presented the award Tuesday, June 13, 2017, at the 78th Annual Conference of the Tennessee Municipal League (TML) held at the Murfreesboro Conference Center at the Embassy Suites.
The award is presented by TCMA each year to acknowledge Tennessee managers, administrators, or assistants who have made exceptional contributions to their community and profession.
Tim Ellis has 31 years of experience in local government administration, beginning his public service career in the parks, recreation and tourism field. He was appointed Goodlettsville’s assistant city manager in 2007 and city manager in 2011.
Going above and beyond is the hallmark of Ellis’ career with the city. When a CSX train derailed in Goodlettsville, he was one of the first on the scene, working side by side with first responders and emergency personnel. When an F-3 tornado tore through the city in April 2006 and again when a flood struck the area in 2010, he took on a significant role of coordinating the city’s recovery.
Of course, Ellis also strives for excellence in conducting the day-to-day and often behind-the-scenes work needed to keep Goodlettsville operational. Overseeing a $16.4 million Fiscal Year 2017 General Fund and $29.3 million total budget, Ellis strives to promote technology initiatives, infrastructure, public safety and service programs, and economic growth while still maintaining a balanced budget. He also works to ensure city staff have the management, professional development, and support they need.
Some of the initiatives he has spearheaded for the city include:
- Implementing Computer Comparison Statistics (CompSat) as part of crime reduction efforts undertaken by the Goodlettsville Police Department. Since implementing the program five years ago, major crime incidents have dropped by 42 percent.
- Implementing electronic ticket writers that help police officers detect speed, write tickets, and process information on hand-held devices, allowing for easily filing of paperwork, reducing the amount of time officers stand outside their vehicles, and decreasing the risk of officers being struck while on duty.
- Taking over the utility billing process for the city’s three water utility district to provide better and more accurate data as well as reducing associated costs.
- Outsourcing residential sanitation services, which resulted in the reduction of residential monthly fees while adding curbside recycling service and bulk item pickup.
- Increasing the number of firefighters on each shift, hiring a deputy fire chief, increasing the amount of training hours fire personnel are required to take, and growing the fire department’s apparatus fleet – all accumulating into the improvement of the city’s ISO rating.
- Growing the city’s parks and recreation system by providing more smaller community parks, green spaces, and park offerings.
Beyond the walls of city hall, Ellis has worked to engage Goodlettsville’s citizenry with their government, encouraging involvement from and providing a better education on government services to citizens and business owners. One such initiative is “My Goodlettsville,” a community engagement program implemented through partnerships with residents and members of the community that facilitates citizens, businesses, civic organizations, and churches finding opportunities to give back to the community for its betterment and to learn more about city services and programs.
Ellis also created a Citizens Leadership Academy designed to provide Goodlettsville residents with a better understanding of the inner workings of their municipal government and to explain how city services are delivered. Another program, Leadership Goodlettsville, serves as a community leadership program and graduated its first class in 2016.
Additionally, Ellis has worked with the Goodlettsville Police Department to create more community engagement opportunities through the development of neighborhood watch groups, an apartment management group, and a hotel management group. Police officers meet with all of these groups on a regular basis to discuss ways in which to ensure the community is safe and thriving.
In addition to his work with the city, Ellis is an active member in several organizations and associations working to better both Goodlettsville and the region. He is currently the incoming chairman of the Forward Sumner Economic Partnership, vice chairman of the Cumberland River Water Improvement Authority, member of the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area Advisory Board and Leadership Goodlettsville Board of Directors and is a former member of the Southern Regional Council of the National Recreation and Parks Association.
He also belongs to the International City/County Management Association and became a member of the Tennessee City Management Association in 2010. For TCMA, he serves on the Policy/Legislative Committee and the 2019 ICMA Host Committee. Later this year, he will represent TCMA as its liaison with the 2017 ICMA Conference Planning Committee, and has also been instrumental in identifying sponsors for the 2019 ICMA Conference.
The Tennessee City Management Association is a professional association of appointed city managers and administrators and assistants that focuses on providing continuing education, technical assistance, training, and information resources to its 120 members. Managers are appointed by their elected boards to oversee the day-to-day operations of their cities or towns. Professional administrators work in partnership with their elected boards to create excellence in local governance