Bennett out, Conrad back in interim role for East Spencer

Published 12:56 pm Wednesday, February 3, 2021

EAST SPENCER — Phil Conrad is again filling in following the departure of James Bennett.

Bennett resigned as East Spencer town administrator on Friday — 15 months after starting his job here. He started a new job as Martin County manager this week. Bennett came to East Spencer from the town of Red Springs, in eastern North Carolina.

East Spencer Mayor Barbara Mallett said Conrad is helping the town as it transitions to a new administrator — a role he also filled before Bennett’s hiring in 2019. Conrad said his role is helping with the budget and administrative matters, but he’s not the interim administrator.

Mallett told the Post she was sad to see Bennett leave because he “put us on a fast-moving track” in his short time as administrator. Alderman Tony Hillian said the town appreciates Bennett’s service and that “he led us a little bit in the right direction” — a statement he said was indicative of the administrator’s short time and not any shortcomings.

After cycling through a number of town administrators in the previous several years, Mallett told the Post the town might want to think about whether it’s time to structure government differently. She didn’t want to elaborate about what that structure might be.

East Spencer has already started soliciting town manager applications.