City names Connet as interim manager

Published 7:22 am Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Contributing Editor

Peter T. Connet, a veteran municipal manager, begins his term as Washington’s interim city manager Dec. 1.
Connet, who will work with outgoing City Manager James C. Smith during December, will be paid $60 an hour. Connet’s employment with the city ends July 1, 2011, according to the employment agreement between the city and Connet. The City Council unanimously approved the agreement at its meeting Monday.
Connet believes his 40 years of experience as manager of municipalities helped him land the interim position with the city.
“Well, the main thing right now is … finding out what priorities and projects are already being worked on. When I get here, I will start meeting with the department heads and see where they stand on some of their projects and stay behind those and keep things moving. My part will be to keep things moving in the direction the council has already directed to move, whether it be the police station, this boat-ramp issue that was on tonight’s agenda, some of the other projects that are already in priorities or budgeted for and moving along,” Connet said during an interview after the meeting. “So, I’m here somewhat as a place-keeper but still following the agenda which the council has set out, so there were no specifics in any of my talks with the council, per se, other than you come in, bring some fresh ideas, if possible, get a new set of eyes looking at things and how the city operates and make whatever suggestions I can.”
Council members said they look forward to working with Connet.
“I see his past experience with other municipalities and towns like us to be a strong point,” said Councilman William Pitt when asked why the council selected Connet as the city’s interim manager. “And with the current direction the council intends to go in, I think he will be one of the best choices we’ve made … and the choice of having a unified council to go forth and take the city in the direction it needs to go.”
Connet served as town manager of Smithfield for 10 years before serving as interim manager in Roanoke Rapids and Kenly, according to media outlets. Connet served as interim town manager of Kenly from September 2009 until March of this year.
Under terms of the agreement, Connet will work no more than three days per week, with one day equal to eight hours. Connet may work in half-day increments.
“Based upon need and necessity, the Manager will work additional hours per week,” reads the agreement.
“It is anticipated that the Manager will normally begin his work week at noon on Tuesdays and end his work week at noon on Fridays, but the parties may adjust the schedule so that he may be available and working on days, or parts thereof, on which Council has scheduled a meeting of Council,” reads the agreement.
Connet will run the city until a full-time replacement for Smith is hired. Smith will become town manager of Farmville effective January 2011. Farmville’s Town Council voted 4-1 earlier this month to hire Smith.
Last month, Smith offered his resignation from the city manager’s job in Washington effective Jan. 1, 2011, and the 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.
For additional coverage of the council’s meeting, see subsequent editions of the Washington Daily News.