Welcoming Wade Tosh

Gary H. Hensley Endowment provides intern to Maryville city

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By Lance Coleman
Blount Today

Maryville City Manager Greg McClain gave a light-hearted warning to Wade Tosh, a UT student with aspirations of being a
city manager, when he was introduced as the city’s new intern, and the first Gary H. Hensley Endowment intern.

"Half of all homeless people are out of work city managers," McClain said as the crowd gathered at the Municipal Building

About 40 people showed to meet the first person to win an internship named in honor of Hensley, the former long-time city manager of Maryville.

The official name of the program and scholarship is the Gary H. Hensley Endowment for Municipal Public Administration Internship program. Hensley was on hand at the Maryville Municipal Building May 24 when the first intern to be paid through the new endowment was announced. Tosh, a 2002 Maryville High School graduate, won the honor, which include about $7,000 to $8,000 in pay and tuition.

The scholarship and pay package is paid for out of about a $200,000 endowment raised in part by Assistant City Manager Roger Campbell.

"We approached individuals and businesses," he said. "Those who supported this did it out of heart-felt appreciation (to Hensley)."

Campbell said the idea for the Gary H. Hensley Endowment Municipal Public Administration Internship program came about when Hensley retired in 2006. Several individuals within the city and in the community wanted to commemorate his time with Maryville by creating an internship for future public administration students focusing their energies on municipal government and learning how to be a city manager.

The idea was to allow Hensley to coach and mentor the interns. "Also, Greg McClain will be instrumental in mentoring the future (city) managers," Campbell said. "The City of Maryville will benefit by being able to do research."

The internship will help the city keep track of trends and information being taught to students in the public administration program at the University of Tennessee. "This is a summer internship in which they are paid a salary plus tuition is paid," he said.

Students interested in the scholarship applied through the UT Political Science Department. The candidates had to be pursuing a Master’s Degree in Public Administration with a concentration in local government.

The winner was picked by members of the political science department, the Municipal Technical Advisory Service, the Institute for Public Service and Hensley. "This is the first of its kind in which we have an endowment for public administration," Campbell said.

Tom Looney with the Institute for Public Service said the institute works with city and county governments. In this case, the goal is to get real world experience brought back to the students. "We want to take what we do and bring it to the classroom," he said. "We do know that people in local government like Gary Hensley have been there a long time, and we’re going to see a lot of people retire."

MTAS places seven students a year in intern positions with municipal governments throughout the state. "This endowment will fund in perpetuity with Maryville as long as the city wants it," he said.

Tosh was enthusiastic about training with Hensley and McClain. "I’m going to work in every department the city has," he said.

In the first part of his time with the city he will work with each department, whether it is working on a garbage truck or brush crew or going out on electrical service calls. The second portion of his time will be spent doing legislative work. "The third leg I’ll be working with Greg," he said.

Tosh said he was surprised when he learned he got the scholarship and internship. "I didn’t think I’d get it," he said. "It’s really important to me since I grew up in Maryville. I’m a product of one of the best schools in the state."

Gary Hensley was happy that the first winner of the internship was from Maryville. "It’s good to kick it off with someone locally," he said.

Hensley was glad that Tosh was already going from department to department learning every facet of the city. "I think that’s good," he said. "That’s what they did with me 36 years ago."

Hank Dye, head of the Political Science Department at UT, thanked everyone for the support the new endowment has received. He then told Tosh that much was expected of him. "There’s all sorts of pressure on you," he said. "You’re the first one out."

Tosh said Maryville is a good example of how things are done right. "Maryville City is a world-class organization that represents a world-class community," he said.

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