Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson has asked the city to reimburse him for tuition and textbooks as he pursues a doctorate at the University of Tennessee.
In exchange, Watson would have to earn at least a “B” average and continue working for the city for three years after he finishes his classwork. If he leaves before then, he would have to repay the city.
Watson is studying political science, with a concentration in public administration.
Watson said he took six hours worth of credits last year and plans to continue taking classes. He has about 26 to 28 hours and a dissertation remaining, and he said UT charges about $500 per credit hour.
The Oak Ridge City Council will consider the tuition reimbursement Monday, when they will also consider whether to give Watson a 1.5 percent pay raise—the same increase given to other municipal employees— and extend his employment contract for two years, until Aug. 8, 2016.
Watson would earn $136,656, effective July 8.
Also Monday, Council will consider a $42,000 contract with economic development consultant Ray Evans, a former chief executive officer of Barge Waggoner Sumner Cannon Inc.
Evans has helped complete a $625,000 tax increment financing package for Woodland Town Center, a commercial development that will include an Aubrey’s restaurant and Panera Bread, Watson said. And other large projects are in the works, including the potential sale of the 60-acre, mostly empty Oak Ridge Mall.
Council will also consider on Monday a $410,000, one-year contract with the Oak Ridge Convention and Visitors Bureau, which promotes tourism in the city.
Monday’s meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the Oak Ridge Municipal Building Courtroom.