'Shaken to the core of my soul'

For the first time in its history, the city of Huntsville will hire a deputy city manager. 

While no action has been taken publicly by the Huntsville City Council, a job post for the newly created position was posted Friday on the city’s job board.

Under the direction of the city manager, the deputy city manager will be responsible for planning, directing, managing and overseeing the activities and operations of assigned city departments. The position will also provide highly complex administrative support to the city manager and will serve as acting city manager in the manager’s absence.

The job posting comes on the heels of three consecutive closed-door meetings, where sources say the city manager Aron Kulhavy’s job performance was called into question. No public action was taken towards Kulhavy at the conclusion of those meetings.

Kulhavy was absent for every city council meeting in August and September, due to medical leave.

“With the continued growth of our city and in order to ensure that our services to our citizens are meeting the needs, the council felt like we have reached a demand for this position,” Mayor Andy Brauninger told The Item. “By creating the deputy city manager, we will be able to spread the responsibility of the demands being placed upon the current city manager and insure the protection of the city manager office.”

According to the job posting, the city is expected to pay an annual salary of at least $140,000 for the added position. Kulhavy is currently compensated $160,000 per year, according to his most recent contract renewal, which was finalized in July.

The city has a long list of capital improvement projects, with officials finalizing a water and sewer system infrastructure, while also in the midst of building a new police and fire station. The third major capital project — a new city service center and renovations to city hall — is expected to begin next year.

The next scheduled meeting of the Huntsville City Council is scheduled for Nov. 17. 

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