Michael Phillips spoke briefly to the public Wednesday shortly after being named Corbin’s new City Manager.
Months of searching and speculation ended last week as Corbin city leaders officially hired a new city manager – a Greenville, SC native with experience as an administrator for cities and counties in both Georgia and South Carolina.
Sixty-three-year-old Michael Phillips was named as the next City Manager by Corbin’s Board of Commissioners by unanimous vote during a special meeting at Corbin city hall last Wednesday. He succeeds former City Manger Bill Ed Cannon who resigned in August after serving in the position for 12 years.
"I’ve got a lot of experience and I hope to be able to bring some of that here," Phillips told a crowd of city employees, interested community members and local media. "I hope that you will find some good ideas in what I have to lay on the table, and I seriously hope you will take some time to offer some recommendations and ideas. We are all interested in the same thing. We are all interested in doing what is good for Corbin and what is good for the people here."
Phillips most recently served as City Administrator in Rincon, GA for three years. Prior to that, he was County Manager for Appling County, GA and City Administrator in Chester, SC. He is a Vietnam War veteran and held government jobs in the family court system and emergency management. He has also been a human resource manager for a private hospital.
Phillips officially started his new job Tuesday.
Commissioners agreed to pay him $75,000 annually. He will receive the standard benefits package for city employees.
Corbin Mayor Willard McBurney said the process that preceded Phillips’ selection was arduous and thorough. Over 65 people applied for the job. Roughly 16 were interviewed, some returning for second interviews with commissioners.
The application deadline for the position was extended once. Originally, city leaders had hoped to make a decision by Thanksgiving, but modified that idea.
"We had a lot of strong candidates. It was really a tough choice," McBurney said following Wednesday’s meeting. "I think he was just a good fit. We all felt that way. He was very impressive to all of us. I think the citizens of Corbin will benefit from this decision."
Phillips said, in the short term, he plans to "ride around town and get a look at everything" to become more acquainted with Corbin. Also, he said he would be meeting fairly intensely with department heads in city government.
"We are going to be doing a lot of talking over the next month or two, so be prepared for it," Phillips said following the meeting.
He noted that he plans to have an "open door" policy with employees, the media and Corbin citizens.
Phillips said the City Manager position in Corbin was an attractive one because the city had such potential for increased tourism.
"I see the tourism opportunities here just being outstanding," Phillips said. "You’ve already got a strong business setup. This is a wonderful opportunity to me. I’m just going to try to keep it moving in the right direction."
McBurney said Phillips support of and experience with renaissance efforts and Main Street programs was a particular strong point among commissioners.
Commissioner Joe Shelton was unable to attend the meeting and therefore did not officially vote on the hiring, but McBurney said he supported the decision to make Phillips City Manager.
Phillips said he and his wife plan to reside within the city limits of Corbin.