Changing seats: Roberson leaves council to become interim city manager

Published 6:20 pm Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Bobby Roberson, who resigned from the Washington City Council on Monday, assumes his duties as interim city manager Saturday.

Roberson, who had been serving as the city’s mayor pro tempore, was hired by the council as interim city manager following a brief closed session to discuss a personnel matter. The vote was unanimous. City Attorney Franz Holscher, in a brief interview after the council’s vote, said the city and Roberson are negotiating the terms of his employment contract. Once Roberson and the city agree to that contract, it will be made public, Holscher said.

Brian Alligood is in his last week as city manager. He takes over as Beaufort County manager June 22.

Councilman Doug Mercer is the new mayor pro tempore. Mercer was nominated for the position by Councilman Larry Beeman. Councilman Richard Brooks nominated council member William Pitt for the position. Mayor Mac Hodges, who votes only in case of a tie vote, broke the 2-2 vote by voting for Mercer.

“Before you close, obviously we have a vacancy on the council, and by are bylaws and charter the council is authorized to fill that position by whatever means we choose,” Mercer said moments after the council hired Roberson. “I would like for the rest of the council and myself to come to our first meeting in July with our recommendations for how to fill that seat.”

Roberson is a former Washington planning director. During his 38 years of working in local governments, Roberson served as assistant city manager in Wilson.

Roberson said he plans to serve as interim city manager for only six months. Before Monday’s meeting, Roberson said he would not run for a seat on the council if he were hired as interim city manager. Roberson imposed the six-month limit on his tenure as interim city manager because he is in the state’s retirement system and is restricted to the amount of income he can earn.

The council may choose anyone it wants to replace Roberson on the council, as long as that person lives within the city limits and meets other qualifications to hold public office. The council does not have to choose someone who ran in the last municipal election.





About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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