Johnson City city manager receives average evaluation, receives merit increase

JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL) – Johnson City City Manager Pete Peterson is doing an average to slightly above average job leading the city, according to city commissioners who just completed his annual evaluation.

The review, in which Peterson received an overall score of 3.4 out of 5, was good enough to secure him a raise.

Peterson’s salary will now jump to $142,000 a year, which is an increase of $4,100. That includes a 1% cost of living adjustment, which all city employees received, and a 2% merit increase.

Public records show leaders were preparing to give him another $5,000 before they changed their minds.

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Within the last year, roughly two dozen firefighters, including supervisors, went on record with concerns about JCFD fire chief Mark Scott. Many of them mentioned threats, lack of trust and low morale.

Although Peterson received an overall score of 3.4, when it comes specifically to his ability to manage, the city manager received a score of 2.8, which is below average. In their comments, commissioners said he needs to “maintain better control of the organization.”

From a financial standpoint, leaders said the city is on solid ground with Peterson at the helm, but they want their city manager to delegate more to his subordinates, so he can move away from the day-to-day operations of the city and spend more time planning a vision for the future.

“I think overall, the City Commission thinks Pete’s doing a good to an average job as far as moving forward,” Mayor Clayton Stout said. “Obviously, we think there’s things that we want to see improved upon.”

Mayor Stout says Peterson’s top priority for the next year is to develop a business plan that includes strategic planning, education, economic development, government relations, community/retail planning, staffing and succession planning and funding sources.

“I’m very thankful to the City Commission to the time that they have put in to the evaluation,” Peterson said Wednesday. “We’ve had a very successful year here in Johnson City and like everybody and every organization we can certainly reach better levels and higher levels and that’s what they’ve asked me to do and we’re going to sit down and work together and take this organization and this community to higher levels than where we are today.”

His second priority, according to Peterson’s 45-page evaluation, is to address something that we’ve continued to tell you about. It’s an issue he previously told us was not that big of a deal.

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