Sources tell WTSB News that Smithfield Police Chief Michael Scott has been offered the job as the new Smithfield Town Manager.
Chief Scott declined to comment on the reports that first surfaced on Thursday. “There is not much I can tell you,” Chief Scott said Thursday afternoon, saying any comment should come from staff at the town hall.
Efforts to reach interim Town Manager Jim Freeman or Human Resource Director Tim Kerigan for a comment were not successful.
Smithfield has been without a permanent town manager since August 2015 when former manager Paul Sabiston was fired in a 4-to-3 vote.
Sabiston, a native of Marietta, Georgia was hired on April 16, 2012 to replace Eric Williams who was also fired as Smithfield’s town manager in 2011. Prior to accepting the job in Smithfield, Sabiston had been the Interim Town Manager for the City of Boiling Lakes in Brunswick County since July 2011. Sabiston previously served as a city manager in Roanoke Rapids and Shallotte. He was also the city administrator for Mexico Beach, Florida.
Scott has been the Smithfield police chief since October 2009 when he was hired to replace Chief Steve Gillikin who retired earlier that year.
Scott began his law enforcement career in Muscatine, Iowa in 1984 and progressed through the ranks to assistant chief in 2007. He was hired by former Town Manager Williams who touted the new chiefs “experience in all municipal policing operations, including a department-wide focus on community policing” as one of the reasons he was selected.
Scott has a BS Degree in Criminal Justice from Kaplan College in Davenport, Iowa and a MA degree in Law Enforcement and Justice Administration from Western Illinois University. He is also a 1997 graduate of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia. Chief Scott and his wife, Peggy, live in Smithfield.
Chief Scott would neither confirm nor deny he has applied for the position.
If Chief Scott fills the vacancy, his employment contract will be closely scrutinized. The Smithfield town council was criticized last year by some citizens following Sabiston’s firing for his contract that forced the town to pay 50 percent of his annual salary as severance.
Smithfield has had 7 full time town managers in the last 30 years.