Council seeks interim city manager

Published 3:35 am Saturday, November 6, 2010

Contributing Editor

Washington’s search for an interim city manager is under way, but it may be nearing its end.
“Well I can’t divulge any closed-session procedures, but I can tell you we are in the process of choosing … searching for an interim manager. I can tell you that,” Mayor Archie Jennings said after the City Council concluded a one-hour closed session Thursday.
“I think we’re nearing the end. … I think we’re getting close to finding an interim (manager),” Jennings said. “I’ll add that we’ve used the (N.C.) League of Municipalities as a resource. … They’ve helped us find it. If someone were to say that was mighty fast, well, they did a lot of the legwork for us.”
Sitting in with the mayor and council during the closed session, held to discuss personnel and protect the attorney-client privilege, was a man who was identified twice by city officials as “Pete” before the meeting began. Neither Jennings nor other city officials would provide the man’s last name. The man did not identify himself to the media.
Asked if that man was being considered to serve as interim city manager, Jennings replied, “Yes.”
“I don’t want to tell you anything I shouldn’t,” Jennings replied when asked again if he could provide Pete’s last name. “I probably should wait until we finalize an agreement with that individual.”
The interim city manager will run the city until a replacement for outgoing City Manager James C. Smith is hired. Smith will become town manager of Farmville effective January 2011. Farmville’s Town Council voted 4-1 Tuesday night to hire Smith.
Last month, Smith offered his resignation from the city manager’s job in Washington effective Jan. 1, 2011, and the City Council accepted that resignation. Smith’s resignation was announced in a news release issued Oct. 8.
Smith began working as Washington’s city manager Jan. 3, 2006.
All council members were at the meeting, except for Gil Davis, who the council excused from attending the meeting.