March 18, 2021
City Manager Pete Peterson announces retirement
City Manager Pete Peterson announced on Thursday that he will be retiring after more than 30 years of service with the City of Johnson City. Peterson started his career as a development specialist in 1991 before being named assistant city manager four years later, interim city manager in 2004, and assuming the post permanently in 2005.
“I am blessed to have enjoyed a full career with the City of Johnson City serving our citizens alongside a remarkable staff and dedicated City Commissioners,” said Peterson. “Spending most of my career in city management has been incredibly rewarding and has also required a great deal of my focus. I look forward to spending the next chapter enjoying more time with my family, catching every practice, ballgame and dance recital that my kids are part of.”
Peterson publicly announced his retirement plans at the March 18 meeting of the Johnson City Board of Commissioners, saying he is committed to remaining in his role through the end of the year to ensure adequate time for thorough search for a new manager. The city manager, who is appointed by the City Commission, serves as the chief administrative officer, managing day-to-day operations in accordance with policies and procedures set forth by the Board.
Under Peterson’s leadership, the City has achieved a AA bond rating and grown its fund balance from $2 million to $35 million while maintaining the lowest property tax rate in the region. He was named City Manager of the Year in 2010 by the Tennessee City Management Association.
Throughout his career, Johnson City has seen significant growth including the revitalization of downtown, where flood mitigation and the addition of Founders Park and King Commons have brought scores of people and new business to the city center. Recreation offerings have multiplied through the development of Civitan Park, Memorial Park Community Center, the Rotary Park inclusive playground and splash pad, Tannery Knobs Mountain Bike Park, and Tennessee’s longest rails-to-trails project, the Tweetsie Trail.
During his tenure, students in Johnson City Schools have seen the construction of a new Science Hill High School and Fairmont Elementary, the complete renovation of Liberty Bell Middle School including a new gymnasium and cafeteria, and the construction of Kermit Tipton Stadium.
The Johnson City Fire Department achieved the highest possible Insurance Services Rating of 1, the Police Department has maintained continuous accreditation, and the City has earned countless awards for environmental efforts and water/wastewater service.
“I am confident that I am leaving the City a better place than when it was entrusted to me but there remains much to be done,” said Peterson. “I look forward to passing the torch to a new generation that will continue to move the City toward the goals and objectives that have been set by the City Commission.”
“Pete has dedicated himself to serving this community and has done so with great passion,” said Mayor Joe Wise. “His tenure as city manager has been a period of stability for the city and has left us poised for future growth. We are grateful for his service and thank him for his dedication.”
Mayor Wise will work with Human Resources Director Steve Willis to write a Request for Proposals for a firm to begin the search for a new manager, a process they expect to take six to eight months.