Dickson City Administrator Rydell Wesson Retiring

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City Administrator Rydell Wesson is retiring after 32 years with the City of Dickson.

Mayor Don L. Weiss Jr. announced at the June 3 City Council meeting that Wesson has notified him of his plan to retire.

“Mr. Wesson has submitted his letter of retirement to me and he will be retiring on July 1st of 2024,” Weiss told the council. “Unless I talk him out of it before then.”

A Savannah, Tenn., native and graduate of Hardin County High School, Wesson joined the City of Dickson as an assistant building official in the Office of Planning and Zoning in September 1988. After two years he returned to his hometown to serve four years as the Codes Enforcement Officer in Savannah.

Wesson returned to the City of Dickson in October 1994 as the director of the Office of Planning and Zoning. In December 2008, Mayor Weiss appointed Wesson as the director of the Public Works Department, overseeing the Street, Sanitation and Maintenance divisions.

When former City Administrator Tom Waychoff became ill, Mayor Weiss designated Wesson as Acting City Administrator in April 2011 and he assumed the position full-time a year later following Waychoff’s death Jan. 4, 2012, after a battle with cancer.

As City Administrator, Wesson has overseen the day-to-day operations of the City of Dickson, more than 200 employees and a $35 million budget for the last 13 years.

“Mr. Wesson’s done a great job for this city,” Weiss said. “He’s well-respected, I think, by this council and, I know, by the department heads and the city staff and employees. And I’m going to miss him as kind of my right hand around here. So, we do wish him well in retirement and it’s well deserved.”

Wesson’s final duties will be at the July 1 City Council meeting.

With the announcement of Wesson’s pending departure, Weiss announced he is naming Public Works Director David Travis to “fill in as the Acting City Administrator effective July 2, 2024, until I come back to you at a future meeting with a recommendation.”

A Dickson native and 1994 graduate of Dickson County High School, Travis joined the city in April 1995 as a part-time employee in the Parks and Recreation Department. He was employed full-time in June of that year and rose to the position of crew leader.

After the city consolidated parks, cemetery, maintenance, street, sanitation and other divisions into the Public Works Department in 2012 with Jeff Lewis as director, Travis was named supervisor of Buildings and Grounds in 2014 and became superintendent in 2015. When Lewis returned to the Dickson Police Department to become chief in 2017, Travis was named director of Public Works.

For the last seven years, he has directed a department with 49 full-time employees and a budget that has been as high as $9 million due to projects such as the Henslee Park Splash Pad and Playground.

With the City of Dickson’s Charter providing for a part-time mayor, the city administrator is responsible for conducting the daily business of the city, advising and informing the mayor and city council of the needs of the city, making recommendations on improvements for the citizens and preparing and overseeing the city’s annual budget.

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