City Attorney Mike Billingsley, who has given 28 years of service and dedication to the City of Kingsport, has announced his retirement effective May 31.
Billingsley came to the city in March 1994 and during his tenure as city attorney, he has worked under six mayors, five city managers and dozens of aldermen and alderwomen. Billingsley also stepped in as interim city manager twice during his career in Kingsport.
“I’ve loved every minute of my time in Kingsport, even the down times,” Billingsley said. “It’s a great community and I’ve enjoyed the people I’ve worked with. They’re great people.”
City Manager Chris McCartt recognized Billingsley for his years of service during a recent Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting.
“I have worked with Mike for 25 years and if I could sum his career up in one word, it would be ‘dedicated,” McCartt said. “Mike has dedicated himself to the city for nearly 30 years and he has played a significant role in countless projects, often behind the scenes. I wish him all the best in retirement.”
Billingsley was born in Nashville, lived briefly in Knoxville and Ohio with his parents and then spent his formative years in Tullahoma, Tenn. He earned his law degree from the University of Tennessee and spent a number of years in private practice, almost always representing public agencies.
“A friend of mine told me there was an opening for city attorney in Kingsport. I didn’t have much interest in private practice, so I called up, made an appointment and got an interview,” Billingsley said. “I interviewed with (former City Manager) Pete Connett and (former public works director) Rusty Wilkerson; they took us around town and offered me the job.”
Billingsley and his wife Sheila have three children and three grandchildren and have no plans to move away from the Model City. After retirement, Billingsley said he will probably still do some legislative matters for the city, work more in his church (First Baptist) and travel – something he and his wife enjoy greatly. A return trip to Europe is likely and the couple have plans to visit friends in New Zealand.
“I love our country and I plan on seeing more of it. There’s plenty of places I’ve not been yet,” Billingsley said.