Roberson named as permanent city manager

Published 5:51 pm Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Washington’s new city manager has been a planning director, a City Council member and an interim city manager — all for the City of Washington.



At the conclusion of Monday night’s City Council meeting, Bobby Roberson was named as the next city manager for Washington, effective Jan. 1, 2016. Roberson, after resigning from the City Council in June, was appointed interim city manager in the wake of then-City Manager Brian Alligood’s resignation. He left the city position to become the Beaufort County manager.

“I think it’s a vote of confidence for me and the organization,” Roberson said of the council removing “interim” from his current title of interim city manager. “I’m looking forward to it. We’ve got a lot of positions to fill. I’m looking for the opportunity to do that. I’m looking forward to working with the new member of the council, Virginia Finnerty. I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

As the new city manager, Roberson faces the task of finding a new director for Washington Electric Utilities. Keith Hardt, the current director, has resigned effective Nov. 30. Roberson also will be working with the city’s new public-works director, Frankie Buck, who is replacing the retiring Allen Lewis as of Dec. 1.

The council’s decision came after an executive session held to discuss personnel matters and other items exempt from the state’s open-meeting laws. Finnerty, the top-vote getter in the recent City Council election and who joins the City Council next month, sat in on that session.

Councilman Larry Beeman responded with a one-word answer when asked why the council chose Roberson over other applicants: “Experience.”

“He met more requirements than most of the candidates,” Beeman said.

Roberson was selected after the city advertised for city manager applicants and reviewed their applications. The advertisements were published in trade publications and newspapers. Roberson’s employment contract is being finalized by City Attorney Franz Holscher.

The city received 41 applications from people interested in the city manager’s job, according to Stacey Christini, the city’s human-resources director.

Details of Roberson’s employment contract, when they become available, will be published in a future edition of the Daily News.


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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