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Two longtime city managers announce retirements

Two longtime city managers have retired after a combined 82 years of public service.  

Mark Johnson

Mark Johnson has retired as the city manager of Alcoa after 25 years of service to the city and 50 years in government. He is the second-longest serving city manager in Alcoa’s history, after its very first city manager hired in 1919.  

Prior to his retirement, Johnson was the 55th recipient of the International County/City Manager Association's (ICMA) Award for Career Excellence, which he accepted in Austin, Texas, in October.  

A native of Indiana, Johnson graduated from Murray State University in Kentucky with a business and accounting degree as well as serving as a certified public accountant (CPA). He began his career in government in Paris as finance director and then city manager.  

"My time at the City of Alcoa has been nothing short of fulfilling," Johnson said. "The last 24 years have flown by, and I couldn’t be more thankful for the experiences and memories I have made at the City of Alcoa.  I’ve seen projects years in the making come to fruition. I’ve seen the current leadership team grow together and accomplish goals. I’ve been a part of an organization with hard workers who are dedicated to making this city better. I might have overseen many projects, but they couldn’t have been finished without the employees in our city. I’ve been lucky to experience the camaraderie and be a part of bringing our employees together, so they know how important their roles are. I’ve been told that I’m a “quiet leader,” and I believe that to be true. I want the successes of the City of Alcoa to reflect the many people behind each project. It’s never been just a one-man job."

 Former Alcoa City Manager C.L. Overman encouraged Johnson to apply for his position when he left, and Johnson was chosen as Alcoa’s new city manager. During his tenure, Alcoa’s population has grown by 17% and Johnson has been lauded by staff and commissioners for how he has managed the city’s growth while also inspiring a sense of community and continued learning among city staff to best meet the city’s needs.  

Johnson oversaw the development of Springbrook Farm – a large mixed-commercial and residential plot serving as the city’s downtown on the former ALCOA West Plant site – as well as business growth and the construction of the Alcoa Highway Pedestrian Bridge.  

Deputy City Manager Bruce Applegate has been selected as Alcoa’s new city manager. 

"You won’t find another place like the City of Alcoa," Johnson said. "It’s a growing city with that small town feel that’s hard to come by. We’ve had many unique opportunities to grow this area in a way that is sustainable and reliant for our residents and visitors. We are growing by leaps and bounds in the best way, and I can’t believe that I was able to be a part of that growth. I know that my successor into this position, Bruce Applegate Jr., and the Department Heads will do a great job.  I’m not worried about what’s to come for the City of Alcoa, I’m just happy that I was there to see some of it happen. Besides, I may be retired, but I’m not going anywhere. Well, expect maybe to the beach."

Kathy Dillon

Kathy Dillon has also retired as city manager of Union City, a position she has served in for 16 years. Dillon has a total of 32 years in government service. 

“Working for Union City was the job of a lifetime for me,” Dillon said. “It was the best people to work for and with. I learned a great deal, and had great people to help teach me along the way. There were just so many great people I got to meet. I am so honored I got to work there.” 

A native of Michigan, Dillon began working for Union City when she moved to Tennessee in 2003. She first served as the city’s clerk and finance director before becoming first the interim and then full-time city manager in 2007. Dillon holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Bethel University and was among the first class of Certified Municipal Finance Officers (CMFOs) through the state of Tennessee in 2010. 

Prior to her arrival in Tennessee, Dillon has been working in local government since 1991 and had first served as city manager of South Fulton in 2003.  

Johnny McTurner has been selected as the next city manager for Union City.