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Longtime managers Cox, Ogles announce retirements


TT&C Assistant Editor

Two long-serving city managers – Gatlinburg’s Cindy Cameron Ogle and Morristown’s Tony Cox – are retiring in March with a combined 85 years of public service.

Cindy Ogle 
Cindy Cameron Ogle
Cindy Cameron Ogle

Ogle retires after 35 years in the role and 45 with the city of Gatlinburg. She joined the city in 1979 as a grants coordinator before being promoted to serve as the city’s assistant city manager later that year, a role she held for around a decade.  

She has helped guide a unique community where the population of 3,726 is often swelled by the more than 12 million tourists who often crowd into the city that serves as a gateway to the nation’s most visited national park. During her tenure, Ogle has overseen numerous major tourism efforts including the construction of the Aquarium of the Smokies – the most visited tourism destination in the state – as well as aesthetic and infrastructure renovations to Gatlinburg’s Riverwalk. Ogle noted she has seen the city’s revenues grow from $19.7 million to more than $100 million a year. 

Responsible for managing a staff of 350, Ogle also ensures the city is run in a financially responsible manner that includes environmentally-friendly and sustainable city initiatives and streamlining operating costs. She has also been instrumental in bringing together the municipalities of Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Pittman Center, and Sevierville along with Sevier County officials to meet common goals.  

“The best thing about the job is the people and the relationships I have made,” Ogle said. “Gatlinburg is such a beautiful place, and God has blessed me to be here in this part of the world. Another thing that I am really proud to have been part of are the city-county boards. We are unique throughout East Tennessee, the state, and the region for how we are able to sit down and work together.” 

In particular, Ogle mentioned relationships with Pigeon Forge City Manager Earlene Teaser, Sevierville Mayor Russell Treadway, and Sevier County Mayor Larry Waters as friendships she has formed while working together for the good of the public.  
Ogle said the most difficult part of her career was during the wildfires of 2016. She lost her home and Mayor Mike Werner lost his home and business. 

“We decided to all put aside our personal losses on focus on what it took to get the city to come back better than before,” she said. “We came back faster than I think anyone thought we would, and that is a attributable to a lot of people.” 

In addition to her duties as city manager, Ogle has served on numerous boards and commissions including as a past president of TCMA, past TML board member, past TML Risk Management Pool – now Public Entity Partners – board, and past vice president of ICMA, to name a few. Her work has also earned her several awards including TCMA’s 2002 City Manager of the Year Award, Zeno Wall Jr. Tourism Award, YWCA Tribute to Women Finalist, and SCHAS Sevier Award.  

Her nearly 50-year public service career began in 1974, serving on the staff of U.S. Rep. John Duncan in. Upon returning to East Tennessee, she worked for one year as a state training officer with the Department of Head Start Training at the University of Tennessee Knoxville before beginning her career with the city. She holds a bachelor’s degree in the humanities and a master’s of public administration, both from the University of Tennessee Knoxville.  

Tony Cox

Cox retired in March after 40 years in public service, including 14 as Morristown’s city manager. 

Tony Cox
Tony Cox

“Tony Cox’s retirement represents the end of a 14-year run of excellent leadership for the City of Morristown,” Morristown Mayor Gary Chesney said. “We have seen growth in jobs, economic development, diverse recreational choices, and significant improvements in governmental management.  Tony will be missed but his example is a good model for future growth.” 

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Tennessee, Cox first entered public service as a program coordinator with the Upper East Tennessee Human Development Agency. He then returned to UT to get a master’s degree in public administration.  

Afterwards, Cox held positions with UT-MTAS and the cities of Maryville, Oak Ridge, Lexington, Va., Newnan, Ga., and to serve as city manager for Fairburn, Ga., and Radford, Va. He was appointed city administrator of Morristown in 2010 in the midst of a financial crisis in the municipality.  

To combat this, Cox established the city’s stormwater and solid waste funds, increased the city’s fund balance by more than $12 million and tackled numerous long-term projects to better the community. Accomplishments achieved during his tenure include major capital improvements, policy updates, road and transportation improvements, and administration enhancements. 
He directed concentrated efforts to enrich Morristown’s historic downtown and worked with all city departments to improve efficiency, upgrade equipment, and enhance staff training. 

Numerous capital projects under Cox’s leadership include a new fire station, public works complex, Fulton-Hill park, a farmers’ market pavilion and community space, and the 100,000-square-foot Morristown Landing recreation complex.  
Under Cox’s leadership, Morristown, individual departments, and Cox himself have won numerous accolades for their accomplishments.  

“It’s been a really good run; in 14 years, we’ve gotten a lot done,” Cox said. “It’s not one person who gets anything done; it’s a team sport. I’ve been very fortunate to work with some great folks along the way, including elected officials, an outstanding city staff, and a community who works together. Without that, nothing gets done.” 

Assistant City Administrator Andrew Ellard was promoted to city administrator upon Cox’s retirement.