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PA city manager candidate information comes to light; Terence Arrington addresses interest

While nothing more than the names of the four finalists for Port Arthur city manager were released Monday afternoon, one of them from outside Texas talked about his extensive background in local government.

Former Spencer, N.C., town manager Terence Arrington, 36, said he applied for the position because he sees “a lot” of potential and opportunity in Port Arthur.

“My potential, drive and innovation can be valuable assets to Port Arthur,” Arrington said via phone Tuesday afternoon. “I believe I can use the skills and expertise I have with larger municipalities to shine a positive light to what’s already being done there.”

Arrington is a Brooklyn, N.Y., native who calls Charlotte, N.C., home and has relatives in Houston.

“It’s what, a 90-minute drive from Port Arthur?” he said. “That’s not bad.”

Arrington began his career in local government in Charlotte and went to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., before becoming deputy city manager in Salisbury, Maryland, from January 2014 to February 2015. He resigned to become manager of Darlington County, S.C., but left with six months left on his two-year term in August 2016 after county officials decided they wanted to go in a different direction, he said.

In Spencer, which is located between Charlotte and Winston-Salem, Arrington resigned six months into a three-year contract with the town on May 8, which was less than a month after a phone call in which Spencer board member Sylvia Chillcott called Arrington a vulgar word, according to a report in the Salisbury Post.

Arrington declined to elaborate on the phone call, citing a confidentiality agreement with Spencer. He received a severance package.

Jim Gobbel, the town’s mayor, declined to talk at length about Arrington other than to confirm his employment, and Chillcott did not return a message seeking comment.

“The council was already on edge with me about things,” Arrington said. “We were already talking about if this is going to be a good fit or if we needed to go in a different direction. You’re sitting in this seat and you’re waiting for board members to decide how they want to do things, but the disrespectful comment, that was part of the icing on the cake.”

The News has filed a public information request to the city for resumes and applications of the three finalists who reside outside Port Arthur — Scott Moore, De’Carlon Seewood and Arrington. Interim city manager Ron Burton is the other finalist.

Seewood was a city manager in Ferguson, Missouri, from November 2015 to February 2019, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Ferguson became the site of civil unrest after a grand jury declined to indict white police officer, Darren Wilson, who fatally shot an 18-year-old black male, Michael Brown Jr. in November 2014.

Seewood also has served as a village manager for the Chicago suburb of Richton Park, Illinois, according to the Post-Dispatch. He has almost 25 years of governmental experience and is credited with helping create a redevelopment plan for downtown, establishing a streetscape plan and assisting with development of a farmers market while with Richton Park from 2001-07.

An Internet search pulled up a Scott Moore who is city manager of Yuma, Colorado, and a Scott Moore who graduated from Texas State University in San Marcos and was a budget and financial analyst for the city of Austin. The latter Moore resigned as city manager of Peoria, Illinois, in November 2010, one year after being hired, the Peoria Journal Star reported.

Contact information for Seewood and Moore, the Texas State graduate, was not available. A message left for Moore of Yuma was not returned.

Port Arthur councilmembers plan to interview each finalist Nov. 13.

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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